The Importance of Child Care for Working Parents
I am very blessed to have my mom around to look after my daughter! A typical day in my life during the week days include dropping off my daughter to my mom’s house at quarter to eight in the morning, then heading to work. I don’t come back to collect her until 2. In which time she has breakfast, plays, naps, has fruit, and even has lunch before we head back home. But how many other people enjoy that luxury?
Here’s the thing, as a mother, I would love to have my child with me. If I didn’t have a startup which gives me flexible hours to get going in case of an emergency, sickness, or any minor or major detail that could require my immediate attention – then I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I can’t even put myself in the shoes of these women who have to quit their jobs to stay home to look after their children, if it’s a matter of choice then I completely support and applaud any woman who wants to do that, but when it comes done to not having a choice and compromising, that’s what makes it hard.
Earlier this morning, I attended the Sadaqa Study session which has revealed key results to the value of Daycare services at the workplace. While I couldn’t stay for the duration of the entire event due to other commitments at work, here are some astonishing numbers you should be looking at:
- Only 13.3% of women contribute to the Jordanian work force (Stat as of 2015)
- Among the many obstacles of women contributing to the workforce is the burden of caring for a child
- 45% of women have left the workplace to look after the children and their families
- The lack of contribution of women to our economy has a 46% impact on our GDP
- The majority of unemployed men have a Tawjihi certificate (equivalent to high school education), the majority of unemployed women in Jordan have a Bachelor’s degree or more
- Article 72 of the Labor law appears to be slightly flawed:
- It is not gender neutral, since when is parenting only a woman’s job, what about a father? Doesn’t he deserve to have his children at day care? What about a single father
- Corporations assume that having child care on site is a financial burden
- Corporations would rather pay a cash allowance instead of providing a day care for moms
- Establishments hire no more than 18 women in many scenarios to avoid having to abide by article 72
In a research that has been conducted in the Telecommunications Sector among employees of Zain and Orange Jordan, with a majority of 60% being between the ages of 30 to 39 and 25% being between the ages of 20 and 29, has shown the following findings:
- 88% have considered that having a day care on premises is a priority
- 86% of respondents have said that a maternity leave that goes beyond 70 days is equally important
- 85% of respondents have said that equal pay between man and woman is a must
- Transportation, flexible working hours, working from home, and other benefits were less important than the three above
These same respondents have said that a day care that is near work or on site is very crucial, that hygiene and safety is a priority, and having a day care that has the same work hours as the organization is a must.
So why don’t we have more day cares in the work place when pretty much everyone is willing to point us to the right direction? It seems many corporations consider the fact that a financial burden of having a day care is not worth the investment, while forgetting that by the end of a fiscal year, the numbers that add up are very minimal. In a study by Connelly, the average cost per employee per year for organizations to provide on-site child care for their employees is between $125 – $225 (per employee per year)
- Women would take less leaves, less vacation days, and will be able to accomplish more without a financial incentive
- Increased productivity, especially with the peace of mind of having your child with you
- Decrease in employee turnover
- Providing a day care on premises is a non-financial incentive to parents
Which brings one to think, if a law has been passed by the Ministry of Labor on this, why don’t we have more? Simply said, the law requires that any corporation that has more than 20 women to have a day care available for those who have children below the ages of 4 as long as they are not less than 10 children. Organizations are subsidizing via cash value instead of providing day care, or ensuring that they don’t hire more than 20 women in order for this article not to be applicable.
To many parents a day care is a necessity, in my case, my mom is very hands on with my child, but in the case of others, this might not be applicable. You don’t always have a grandparent or a relative who can stay at home and look after your children. Quitting the workplace to raise children for many women could also cause financial hardship on the family.
By providing day care, not only are you contributing to better performance, productivity, and efficiency by the employees, you are even contributing to the future generations who have opportunities to learn socialization skills and how to deal with different types of personalities and cultures at a very young age by being placed in a day care with other children.
It’s important for us as a society to empower women, having equal rights while having many constraints whether through social norms or double standards really does put a woman back, bearing in mind that enabling more women to work by improving access to child care can help diminish the gender wage gap and economic contribution.
Just look at all of these women with Bachelor’s degrees or more who have compromised leaving the work place for a family, not only are we losing amazing talents and contributions of educated women, we are also adding financial hardships to these families who will now have to rely on one pay check instead of two, and in such a tough economy that would make the man of the house stressed and agitated constantly, which at the end will also lead to a declined work performance from men in the workplace as well.
Only by understanding the drawbacks, risks, and shortcomings of each of these sacrifices by women can we see the bigger picture and invest in providing quality day care to our children, which at the end also is essential to the success of our organizations which are led by these parents who will excel at work when they have the peace of mind that their little ones are getting the high-quality child care that they deserve.
I saved the best for last: The annual savings amount was JD 737,000 per year per company on average… May this be an inspiration to more companies to commit in providing more to women in the workplace, after all in the long term, you do reek the benefits.
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