The pandemic has impacted everyone, but lawyers with children – especially those with infants and school-aged kids – have been especially hard hit.
A jaw-dropping 90 percent of working parents say their work environment has been disrupted, and two-thirds say their childcare arrangements have been upended.
Meanwhile, more than one in five say they’re unsure when or if they’ll return to work full-time.
Those are some of the findings from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce report Piecing Together Solutions: Working Parents, Childcare, and COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 public health crisis has been a wake-up call to the role of the childcare industry in our lives,” according to the report. “Thirteen million working parents rely on this industry to care for their children while they do their jobs. In many cases, working parents will not be able to return to work if their childcare programs are unable to reopen.”
Read Piecing Together Solutions: Working Parents, Childcare, and COVID-19 here.
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In 2019, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce conducted a study that found the economy depends on a stable and sturdy childcare industry to a startling degree. Now that industry has been rocked to its core.
“Working parents are facing new, complicated childcare challenges caused by COVID-19,” the report says. “These challenges have ripple effects across communities, making childcare crucial for every employer and state to prioritize.”
Here are some of the insights from the report:
- Childcare is a two-generation workforce issue. It is essential to the survival of the workforce of today and vital for the development of the workforce of tomorrow.
- Parents rely on childcare to help them enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce, but access to affordable, quality childcare is hard to come by.
- 75 percent of working parents currently have at least one parent staying at home caring for children during work hours.
- 66 percent have had to alter their childcare arrangements because of COVID-19.
- 60 percent of working parents worry that they will have to change their childcare plans in the next year.
- 22 percent are unsure if they will be returning to their former job full-time.
- Most childcare is provided by small business owners, many of which have had to close, at least temporarily.
- For childcare businesses that are open, operational costs have soared – due to unanticipated expenses for health and safety protocols – while revenue has decreased.
- Working remotely is an accommodation more available to high-income (73 percent) and white (54 percent) parents. Only 24 percent of low-income parents, 40 percent of black parents, and 34 percent of Hispanic or Latino parents are working remotely.
- 12 percent of working parents are unlikely to return to their same work situation, while 10 percent are unsure whether they will return or not. The likelihood of returning to work decreases for working parents of color as well as low-income parents.
- Certain industries are at greater risk of workforce instability than others. Professional sectors, healthcare and essential retail stores are more stable. Nonessential services are less so.
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, a training and consulting company that helps lawyers add purpose, profits and peace of mind to their practices. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.