Lack of access to child care threatens parents’ ability to work in the hospitality industry, according to survey data released Wednesday by the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association and Start Strong PA.
The survey questionnaire was distributed to hospitality industry employers and employees between March and May.
Among the data highlights:
· Nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that there is a shortage of affordable child care options for their employees.
· Over 80% of respondents said inadequate child care options impacts their ability to recruit qualified employees.
· Nearly 95% of employees said that child care-related concerns are contributing to the national workforce shortage.
“The hospitality industry is still struggling to fully rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic,” John Longstreet, Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association president and CEO, said in a release. “Staffing continues to be the No. 1 concern of operators across all sectors of our industry. Affordable, accessible child care would mean more team members could enter, stay and grow in our industry, boosting the economy along the way.”
Hospitality employees with children reported that child-care access was a barrier to work even before to the pandemic, citing cost and irregular hours. Now that barrier has only increased.
Nearly all employers and employees surveyed said that expanding access to affordable child care should be a high priority for their communities.
“There are currently more than 7,000 vacant child care positions across Pennsylvania … and more than 32,400 Pennsylvanian children on waitlists,” added Steve Doster, a principal partner in Start Strong PA, which supports affordable access to high-quality child care for Pennsylvania families.
“The economy depends on working families and working families depend on child care. Pennsylvania lawmakers are in a position to stabilize and strengthen the child care sector by investing in its employees.”
Paula Wolf is a freelance write