Decades of underinvestment in our care economy is what made the pandemic so disastrous for our communities. And it’s costing not only women, moms, and disproportionately women of color and their families, but our economy overall. For example, the risk of mothers leaving the labor force and reducing work hours in order to assume caretaking responsibilities amounts to $64.5 billion per year in lost wages and economic activity.
Solutions are possible. To create jobs, lift families, and boost our economy, the federal recovery package must include:
- The Child Care for Working Families Act to ensure that no family pays more than 7% of their income for child care and that early educators have pay parity.
- $450 billion for Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services to create over one million union protected direct care jobs, expand access to home- and community-based services to people with disabilities and aging adults, and support unpaid family caregivers to re-join the labor force.
- Paid Family and Medical Leave that would ensure all working people have access to at least 12 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child, address a personal or family related illness, or handle needs that arise from a military deployment.
Investing in the care economy is both job creating and also job enabling -- and now is the time to make these investments. The cost of inaction is too great. We hope you and your colleagues in Congress will prioritize these investments in the next recovery package.