Gilroy Today 2011 06 Summer - Page 37

The Kid ’ s Corner

The Kid ’ s Corner

Business Sense : Why child care is your business

By Judi Anderson , Coordinator Local Child Care Planning Council
Employers may wonder what child care has to do with them , especially if they do not have children , or have children who no longer need child care . Child care is an industry that is often invisible to employers , until it isn ’ t there .

You may be saying , “ Huh ?” How is it

invisible until it isn ’ t there ? Let me tell you . Being an employer means you have employees ( at least , that is what the dictionary says ), and these employees are sometimes parents . With over 15,000 parents in the Santa Clara County workforce with young children , odds are that you have at least some of those parents working for you .
When parents have child care that is reliable , affordable and available , employers may never be aware that this is a workforce support that their employee is utilizing . An employer may become aware of this support only when it is no longer there , either temporarily or permanently . How much of an impact is it to your workplace if one or more of your workers do not show up for a day , a week , two weeks ?
A 2010 study suggests that the average working parent in America loses five to nine days of work per year because of child care problems . Locally , two studies have found that child care issues affect attendance and work hours and have led to employee considerations of leaving their current job . One state study found 56 percent to 57 percent had arrived late , 64 percent to 76 percent have taken extra days off , 54 percent to 56 percent have limited work hours , and 10 percent to 17 percent have considered leaving their current job all due to child care issues .
Data shows that parents work across all employment sectors , be it retail , manufacturing , leisure and hospitality , financial , government or another sector . Demographics do not tell us percentages of parents in employment by industry , so the following examples are purely illustrative . In actuality , any one employer could have 0 to 100 percent of their employees who are parents . So indulge me a bit and imagine , as a conservative estimate , that 10 percent of your workforce did not show up today . What would that mean to your workplace ?

{… child care issues affect attendance and work hours and have led to employee considerations of leaving their current job .

If you are a hospital and the 10 percent included your sole anesthesiologist , all surgeries for that day might need to be canceled . If you were a wholesale company and that 10 percent was your sales department , no sales orders would be filled that day . If you were a restaurant owner and that 10 percent included your main cook , nobody would eat .
Now that you have imagined how this would impact you for a day , imagine it for a week or a month .
Businesses could be impacted through loss of income if child care was no longer available in this county . Child care is an industry in its own right , and according to a 2004 Economic Industry Report , the child care industry brought in $ 22.5 million in gross receipts in one Northern California County . This money was spent on wages , supplies and services . Child care providers are also consumers ; they spend money both on their businesses and in their personal lives . If child care providers are no longer receiving funds , they no longer have money to put into the local economy .
The children who are in child care today are the future workforce ; the skills they develop in these early years set the stage for future success in elementary and high school . Those who have high-quality early learning experiences enter school ready to learn and graduate high school and go on to college at higher rates . If you plan to be in business for the long haul , the children in child care today may be your future employees .
Once upon a time , child care was considered a luxury ; in today ’ s economic times , it is considered essential . Everything you do now to support child care will in turn support your own business . Working parents need affordable , accessible , quality care to be productive employees , employers need child care to maintain their workforce , and the county needs child care to support current and future economic development .
Information brought to you by :
GoKids , Inc .
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