Investing in Care Is Essential Infrastructure

The availability of care and care workers is integral to maximizing workforce participation and building a healthy, resilient economy. A continuum of care for children, sick loved ones, older adults, people with disabilities, and workers themselves is and always has been vital to sustain families, protect jobs, and drive economic growth. But the pandemic has revealed how decades of underinvestment in care—if not ignoring the need entirely—has hurt families and cost millions of women their jobs. In order to equitably rebuild from the pandemic, policymakers must learn from the past year and prioritize robust investments in care as essential infrastructure that makes all work possible. Without measures to fill caregiving gaps, people who have been harmed the most by the economic crisis will continue to pay the price. Policymakers must prioritize quality, affordable child care and early education; permanent, national paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave; home- and community-based services; and higher wages and improved benefits and protections for care workers and early educators.

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How COVID-19 Sent Women’s Workforce Progress Backward Report

How COVID-19 Sent Women’s Workforce Progress Backward

The collapse of the child care sector and drastic reductions in school supervision hours as a result of COVID-19 could drive millions of mothers out of the paid workforce. Inaction could cost billions, undermine family economic security, and set gender equity back a generation.

Julie Kashen, Sarah Jane Glynn, Amanda Novello

The Urgent Case for Permanent Paid Leave Report
 (The dome of U.S. Capitol building is seen on January 16, 2020, Washington, D.C.)

The Urgent Case for Permanent Paid Leave

Policymakers must consider lessons learned from the emergency paid leave laws passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic in order to design national, permanent paid leave policies that ensure racial, gender, and economic equity and meet the needs of families.

Diana Boesch

The Economics of Caregiving for Working Mothers Report
A single mother picks up her children from day care in Maryland on December 20, 2016. (Mother picks up children from day care)

The Economics of Caregiving for Working Mothers

Working mothers are important drivers of three essential industries—elementary and secondary education, hospitals, and food services—yet cannot afford child care for their own children.

Sarah Jane Glynn, Katie Hamm

State Options for Making Wise Investments in the Direct Care Workforce Report
A 92-year-old woman sits inside her apartment in an assisted living residence in Marlborough, Massachusetts, March 2019. (Getty/Jessica Rinaldi)

State Options for Making Wise Investments in the Direct Care Workforce

Policymakers must invest in strengthening the direct care workforce in order to improve the quality of care delivered to patients and to achieve better value for every dollar spent on long-term services and supports.

Madeline Twomey

The Child Care Crisis Is Keeping Women Out of the Workforce Report
A mother plays with her 1-year-old son at a day care center in Lynn, Massachusetts, March 2015.

The Child Care Crisis Is Keeping Women Out of the Workforce

More mothers would increase their earnings and seek new job opportunities if they had greater access to reliable and affordable child care.

Leila Schochet