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New Poll: Small Business Owners Need Federal Action on Child Care 

News April 11, 2024

(Washington, DC) – A new report from Small Business Majority – a national small business organization with a network of 85,000 small businesses – has found that more than two-thirds of small business owners polled support legislative action to make child care more affordable and accessible for working parents and employers.   

FFYF Executive Sarah Rittling, who recently participated in a White House roundtable with Small Business Association and other leaders in the child care and small business communities released the following statement: 

“As this new report shows, child care challenges are business challenges. When child care is too hard to find or too expensive to afford, it has an impact on young children, their families, and employers. We need a variety of approaches as we look for ways to ensure all parents can find and afford the child care they need, and we look forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and every facet of the Administration to expand policies and fund programs that get families care.” 

Key Findings From the Report: 

Child Care Challenges

  • Small business employees frequently experience schedule disruptions: Nearly three-quarters of entrepreneurs say that their employees adjust their work schedules due to child care issues at least a few times a month.
  • When employees experience child care issues, small businesses struggle: Small businesses report that they’ve experienced lower productivity (51%), been unable to operate longer hours (44%), lost revenue or earnings (31%), and had to hire temporary workers (28%) when their employees are facing child care issues.
  • Employees’ child care issues impact small business operations:
    • Small business owners say that they’ve experienced unplanned employee work absences (62%),
    • Had an employee quit or a job candidate turn down an offer (30%), 
    • And had an employee turn down a promotion (27%) due to child care issues.
  • More than 6 in 10 (61%) agree that their employees’ childcare issues have negatively affected their ability to do their job as efficiently as both the employer and employee would like.

Policy Solutions

More than two-thirds (68%) of small business owners believe that policymakers need to take action to address the cost of child care. They support a number of policy solutions to expand access and address costs, among others:

  • 71% support doubling the amount of money that can be saved by a family in a tax-exempt Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account to cover child care expenses, up to $10,000 annually. 
  • 70% support expanding eligibility to more families for the national Head Start program.
  • 73% support expanding a tax credit aimed at helping businesses provide child care to their workers by increasing the credit’s rate and caps, allowing businesses to jointly create and operate a child care facility for their employees, and adding in-home services as an eligible use.

FFYF’s own polling of small business owners found that 88% of business owners agree that employees who have young children will be more likely to remain in the workforce if they have access to affordable, high-quality child care and 78% said their business would be on stronger footing if their employees had better access to affordable, quality child care.

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