While finding affordable child care in the U.S. was difficult before the pandemic, several factors are making returning to the workplace now especially tough for parents. First, young children are still not eligible for vaccination, so returning workers may be concerned about transmitting the virus to them, even if the parents are inoculated. Second, good intentions and emergency care by companies are a Band-Aid, which doesn’t give parents confidence about going back to the office on a regular basis. And third, it’s even harder than it used to be to find good care.
Nationally, the estimate is that more than 30% of child care centers and 25% of in-home family day care closed during the pandemic, according to Child Care Aware of America, an organization that advocates for access to affordable child care. Staff turnover was high even before Covid, especially with such jobs paying only an average of $11.65 an hour.