This Tackling Childcare commitment brings together a group of companies operating in a variety of different business sectors in emerging as well as developed markets to identify and implement childcare solutions that are good for business, employees, and communities. It will foster learning around a variety of employer-supported childcare strategies, approaches, and policies. The commitment includes three main groups:
- Members will stretch themselves and do more to support their employees childcare needs by committing to at least three new gender-smart measures to support childcare. An indicative list of commitments is provided below. The Tackling Childcare commitment recognizes that companies are at different stages of their journey to support their employees childcare needs. Therefore, any steps taken that advance a companys childcare agenda are immensely valuable.
- Strategic Partners will support members in this commitment by providing knowledge, best practices, opportunities, lesson learned, or data to help the members realize their commitments. Strategic Partners have also formulated their own commitment to employer-supported childcare.
- The Tackling Childcare Secretariat (housed in IFC) along with its Strategic Partners will help member companies further establish, operationalize and measure the business case. IFC will share methodologies and frameworks that companies can use to test and measure the actual and projected impact of their childcare interventions. This technical expertise will be based on IFCs ongoing projects and research on employer-supported childcare. IFC will coordinate this commitment and host periodic face-to-face or online peer learning events, provide communications opportunities for members, and offer a global platform to share and celebrate progress made. Importantly, the Tackling Childcare Secretariat will compile the groups learning on how employer-supported childcare can work in different regions, industries, and business environments in a global best practice Tackling Childcare report on employer-supported childcare.
The Tackling Childcare commitment aims to directly impact the lives of working parents in member organizations. Anticipated results of the Tackling Childcare commitment will be:
- Improved learning and awareness amongst members and partners about the business case and best practices for employer-supported childcare.
- A more substantiated why business case for employer-supported childcare that encourages other companies to scale-up their employer-supported childcare efforts.
- Commitment member companies scaling up existing childcare initiatives and replicating them in other parts of the world.
- Multiple stakeholders jointly contributing to the global care dialogue and working to improve employer-supported childcare by leveraging each others partnerships and expertise.
To achieve the desired impact, member companies were requested to commit to at least three gender smart measures to better support their employees childcare needs (at least one commitment from category A and two from category B below).
SUBSTANTIATING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR EMPLOYER-SUPPORTED CHILDCARE:
- With guidance from the Tackling Childcare Secretariat and Strategic Partners, compile and analyze quantitative company data to further explore the business rationale for employer-supported childcare. For companies that already offer childcare support, this could involve looking at changes in, for example, employee turnover and productivity over time, estimating how the company has benefited in monetary terms. For companies that are exploring the possibility of offering childcare support, this could involve a childcare needs assessment.
- Write a company case study on lessons learned for potential inclusion in the Tackling Childcare report.
- With guidance from the Tackling Childcare Secretariat and Strategic Partners, capture qualitative business case data through surveys and focus groups. For companies that already offer childcare support, this could involve looking at changes in, for example, employee satisfaction over time. For companies that are exploring the possibility of offering childcare support, this could complement a childcare needs assessment.
- Support or lead new research on private sector childcare support in your sector/region.
PUTTING THE BUSINESS CASE INTO PRACTICE:
- Conduct a childcare needs assessment in the company. This might be particularly useful to those companies that want to explore whether supporting their employees childcare needs is feasible and relevant for them.
- Put into action employer-supported childcare. Options include access to back-up childcare, voucher systems, partnership with publicly or privately-run childcare providers, on-site crèche, etc.
- Offer complementary measure(s) to support employees childcare needs. These measures could include, for example, flexible working arrangements, paid parental leave (incentivize men to take it), extended emergency leave, family/dependent care leave, access to lactation/breast-feeding rooms, or other types of family-friendly benefits that are most appropriate and feasible.
- Partner with other organizations in the industry or region to create a childcare consortium and work together to support employees childcare needs.
- Develop new partnerships with city/municipal, state, and/or federal governments to improve the regulatory framework and further incentivize employer-supported childcare.
- Fund quality improvements such as renovations, furniture, or teacher training at a local childcare center to improve the quality and availability of childcare spaces.
- Offer childcare resource and referral services to employees to help them identify and select high quality childcare.
- Offer care support to employees school age children at times of the year when school is not in session. This can be done through sponsoring a day camp/field trip programs and other innovative projects to address these particular needs.
- Offer workshops or seminars on a variety of work-life issues including childcare, stress management, and parenting.
- Identify and share best practices and policies that enable and incentivize employer-supported childcare in a particular sector or country.
- Senior management including CEO commits to speaking about the importance of employer-supported childcare as a smart business strategy and showcases company efforts on a public, preferably international platform (media/event/conference) at least twice a year.
- Host at least two events that highlight new insights on employer-supported childcare models.
Oct 2016: Partners participate in a kick-off meeting and consultative workshop on employer-supported childcare.
Oct Dec 2016: Partners start implementing at least three new gender smart childcare measures of their choice.
Jan Mar 2017: Partners analyze and communicate first results and learning. Report back to CGI.
Nov 2016 Jun 2017: Hold peer learning events among commitment members and partners, including a workshop in April 2017 to allow commitment members and partners to exclusively weigh in on and benefit from the first draft of the WBGs Tackling Childcare project report.
July Dec 2017: Regular peer learning events continue.
By Sept 2017: Members confirm that at least one out of three measures have been implemented and partners hold learning forums in different regions.
October 2017: Tackling Childcare Business Case Research report launch and peer learning forum.
Oct Dec 2017: Report is disseminated through industry bodies and relevant fora to amplify learning and get other companies to do more to support their employees childcare needs.
Jan July 2018: Regular peer learning events continue.
Jan Mar 2018: Members confirm that at least two out of three measures have been implemented and they hold learning forums in different regions.
Aug 2018: Partners report back for final CGI progress report.
September 2018: Tackling Childcare How to Report launch.
For IFC, the worlds largest development institution focused exclusively on the private sector, job creation is a top priority. In 2012, IFC launched a global private sector partnership on womens employment, which culminated in the Investing in Womens Employment Good for Business, Good for Development report. In 2014, IFC and its partners launched the SheWorks CGI Commitment to Action and global private sector partnership in which member companies made multiple commitments to implement gender-smart workplace measures to put into action the business case for investing in womens employment. During the two-year SheWorks partnership, members developed an interest in exchanging knowledge and best practices on the recurrent (yet complicated) topic of employer-supported childcare. Why should employers support childcare? Research shows that employees access to affordable, good quality childcare has multiple benefits:
Good for Children:
- Benefits of early childhood development range from healthy development and greater capacity to learn while in school to increased productivity in adulthood (World Bank, 2015)
- Crisis of Childcare: At most, half of three-to-five year olds in developing countries participate in some form of early childhood education, typically for a few hours daily. In 2014, a mere 17% of children in low income countries were enrolled in preprimary school (Global Business Coalition for Education, 2016)
Good for (Womens) Employment:
- Where the government provides or subsidizes childcare, women are more likely to receive a formal wage (World Bank Groups Women, Business and the Law, 2016)
- Investments in care economy would create twice as many jobs than investments in construction industry, plus decrease the gender gap in employment (ITUC, 2016)
- Value of unpaid care estimated at $10 trillion or 13% of global GDP (McKinsey, 2016)
Good for Business:
- When employers support their female and male employees childcare needs, it often results in business benefits including reduced absenteeism and turnover, higher job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. It can also lead to enhanced reputation & access to higher value customer markets, and better relations with the community.
- Unstable childcare costs U.S. employers billions of dollars annually and contributes to unscheduled absenteeism, which has been identified as a chronic problem in the country. Conservative estimates suggest that unscheduled absenteeism costs U.S. employers $3,600 per hourly employee per year (Circadian, 2005)
Good for Economies:
- Investing 2% of GDP in the care economy of seven developed countries would create more than 21 million jobs and help countries overcome challenges of aging populations and economic stagnation (ITUC, 2016)
- Investing in early childcare could generate 719,000 jobs in Turkey alone and expand the labor market skilled talent pool by encouraging womens labor force participation (ILO et al, 2015)
In addition to governments and civil society, employers are well positioned to support childcare through a range of strategies, from providing free or subsidized workplace childcare centers and/or back-up programs to vouchers or subsidies towards the costs of childcare, and providing employees with childcare resources, information or referrals to childcare providers. Finally, childcare is not just a womens issue. The 2016 Modern Family Index by Better Horizons shows that U.S. men surveyed want to be more actively involved in raising their children and cite lack of childcare as a key daily stressor at work. Access to childcare is a business and economic imperative that needs to be a shared responsibility between employees, employers, and governments.