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Nearly half of mothers with young children who dropped out of the workforce cited child care as one of the reasons for moving, according to a survey released Wednesday, and 69 percent of women job seekers said Childcare benefits could influence your decision about where to go. works.

The survey of more than 1,000 workers, conducted by consulting firm McKinsey & Company and Marshall Plan for Moms, a campaign focused on the economic participation of mothers, adds to research that explores how the lack of child care continues to weigh on the economy and tightening an already hot job market.

“Companies are fighting for talent,” said Reshma Saujani, who founded the Marshall Plan for Moms and Girls Who Code, a nonprofit aimed at closing the gender gap in tech. “Our report shows that women can be attracted, retained and advanced in the workforce only through the provision of childcare benefits.”

For too long, child care has been too little or too expensive for most families. And during the pandemic, the industry more or less collapsed, as day care centers struggled to stay open and child care workers quit en masse.

Many child care executives and activists hoped that President Biden’s expanding infrastructure plan would provide support for the industry. But the reduced bill became law without major investments in child care. Ms. Saujani says that the responsibility now lies with the private sector.

Most salaried and hourly workers do not have access to child care benefits. Six percent of hourly workers surveyed and 16 percent of salaried workers said they had access to childcare subsidies. The same percentage of hourly workers, and even fewer salaried workers, reported that their employer provided backup child care or offered pre-tax flexible spending accounts that could be used to pay for care. About 30 percent of those surveyed said they had flexible work hours.

Ms Saujani’s campaign is forming a business coalition that includes Patagonia and Archewell, the production company founded by Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. To sign up, businesses must offer a childcare subsidy or benefit or intend to provide one, Ms. Saujani said. Once they join the coalition, companies can share and learn best practices from each other.

Synchrony, a financial services company that is part of the coalition, found that offering its employees creative child care options led to an increase in job satisfaction and an influx of applications for openings, said Carol Juel, director of technology and operations at the company. .

In the summer of 2020, the company created a virtual summer camp, putting its employees’ high school and college kids in charge of keeping 3,700 campers busy in exchange for mentor training and college credit. And the company would “send out, every Friday, the next week’s schedule so workers could plan their meetings around this,” Ms Juel said.

Fast Retailing USA, which operates clothing brands such as Uniqlo, Theory and Helmut Lang and is also part of the coalition, has started offering monthly child care stipends of up to $1,000 for many employees, including store managers. The money can be spent however they see fit rather than being tied to specific vendors.

“Many of the people who were involved in sponsoring this policy, including myself and some of our human resources managers, all have children the same age,” said Serena Peck, managing director and general counsel of Fast Retailing. They were seeing firsthand how “the market was shrinking for good child care” and “we felt like we had to do something.”

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