Skip to main content

COVID-19 Pandemic Underscores The Need for Comprehensive Corporate Childcare

The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a health crisis, it is a nexus which exacerbates and magnifies existing socio-economic issues, such as the need for reliable and quality childcare for working parents.

Even prior to the pandemic, childcare in the workplace, and off the workplace has been an issue that has not been properly addressed, with many gaps in capacities and quality of the service offered to working parents.

This holds true for corporate childcare, publicly funded childcare or private players in the childcare sector.

Indeed such is its magnitude that this issue has been seen to be one of the major hurdles preventing women from being more involved in the work force, as more often women would put their career on hold to take care of the children.

But it is during the pandemic that these gaps in childcare became more apparent, as parents working from home with children underfoot, and essential service workers on duty struggled to find care for their children.

Restrictions or plain shutdown orders mandated on childcare centres due to COVID-19 social distancing measures making things worse.

Another factor is the overwhelming numbers of women employed in the health and care sectors. Which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) accounts for 70 percent of the sector work force. Being medical frontliners they cannot work from home or take off. Most having to struggle to find childcare.

And now as some countries are looking at recovery periods, the ugly spectre of the lack of childcare services will continue to rear its head. This is as returning workers, and those working from home too, will need to find care of their children.

This being doubly serious, as many schools are still not open or not operating at full capacity due to social distancing measures.

This crisis underscores the need for a more comprehensive childcare policy or companies, not only in looking at in-house childcare, but also at more support measures like engaging on-demand service for their workforce working from home or having to leave their kids to come back to work.

Its time to look beyond a child-friendly offices but for firm policies to create an environment that embraces not only the workers, but their children and family as well.

It is time to look well outside of the box and create new solutions to this age old problem, via children inclusive HR policies, new business alliances and Family First Company Culture.