BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Utah businesses lose billions annually because of childcare issues

Jan 19, 2023, 3:13 PM | Updated: 3:16 pm

Childcare needs Utah...

The Utah Women & Leadership Project released new research looking at the need for childcare solutions in Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — A new report shows that Utah businesses are losing over $1 billion a year because employees have to deal with childcare issues. More specifically, $1.36 billion and $258 million are lost in tax revenue annually. 

The report found that a big part of those losses comes from employee absences and turnover.

The report, released by a management consulting group, Cicero Group, is intended to “help the business community better understand the unique needs of working parents,” the group said.

Leaders in the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce said insight from the report could provide an opportunity to look for better solutions to providing childcare.

The problem begins with a difficult choice

According to the report, the problem, which impacts more women than men, begins when parents have to choose between work and taking care of their kids.

Over 50% of families have to step away from work regularly. And tens of thousands had to leave work in the last year.

And while COVID-19 had a large impact on parents, children, and businesses, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce said the pandemic isn’t to blame. They said there was already a big tug-of-war between employees and their need for childcare.

“Over 50% of families deal with disruptions or have to step away from work regularly to deal with childcare issues,” said Jacob Allen, who is a senior partner with Cicero Group.

“Childcare is crucial to Utah’s economic infrastructure and provides a stable foundation for the state to continue to thrive as a business environment,” the report concluded. 

Childcare in the 2023 Utah Legislative Session

A bill addressing childcare may soon be addressed by lawmakers. HB167 is currently making its way through the 2023 legislative process.

Sponsored by Rep. Ashlee Matthews, D-Salt Lake City, HB167 would create a state childcare pilot program. It would allow certain state agencies to contract with a childcare provider to establish an on-site childcare center for the agency’s employees.

 

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Utah businesses lose billions annually because of childcare issues