A scientific opinion poll released today found many small business owners struggled to access affordable child care, and a majority of small employers favor the expansion of federal programs to help low- and moderate-income families afford child care.
The telephone survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Small Business Majority, found 36 percent of small business owners who are parents say lack of access to affordable, high-quality child care was a barrier to starting their business. Conversely, 29 percent of business owners with children (and 34 percent of women) say lack of access was a major reason for starting their own business, because they needed increased flexibility in their work schedules.
“The cost of child care can be incredibly burdensome for small business owners, especially in large cities,” said Chanceé Lundy, co-owner of Nspiregreen LLC in Washington, D.C. “Since I had a child, I’ve had to be very disciplined in juggling my time–particularly because child care facilities where I live are very expensive and typically have a waiting list of one year or more. This can be crippling to a new business owner and their employees who did not foresee these issues.”
Practical solutions are essential to overcoming the lack of affordable child care options available to small business owners and their employees, and a majority of entrepreneurs (56 percent) support policies that would provide direct federal assistance on a sliding scale to help low- and middle-income families afford child care. What’s more, 7 in 10 small business owners support expanding and improving federal income tax credits that would allow for working parents to receive a percentage of child care expenses back as a tax refund.
“Starting a business is a formidable challenge for any aspiring entrepreneur,” said Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer. “The difficulty of getting off the ground becomes even greater when a fledgling business owner also has to care for their children without access to affordable child care. This is why we need policy solutions that will make it easier for entrepreneurs, as well as their employees, to access the child care they need to effectively focus on their businesses and their jobs.”
Small business owners’ support for policies like direct federal assistance is not surprising when you look at the impact that not having child care options has on their bottom lines. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of small business owners say their employees’ family and child care issues have affected their job performance or productivity, and the same percentage report their employees frequently or sometimes request changes to their work schedules due to child care issues.
“As a small business owner and a father of eight, I know how difficult it is to find affordable and quality child care,” said Shaundell Newsome, founder of Sumnu Marketing LLC in Las Vegas, Nevada. “This is why I’ve made it a priority at my business to support my employees in their child care needs. While we’re not able to offer financial assistance at this time, we allow our employees to bring their children into the office when they need to. It’s proven to be a win-win for the business: it promotes loyalty and boosts morale, while ensuring our employees can focus on their jobs instead of worrying about child care issues. Expanding federal programs to help working parents afford child care, however, would go a long way towards supporting both our small business workforce and entrepreneurs.”
The survey reflects a telephone interview of 502 small business owners with 2-99 employees. The randomly selected sample was split along political party lines with 50 percent of respondents identifying as Republican or Republican-leaning independents, while 39 percent identified as Democrats and 11 percent independent. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.
For the full poll report, please visit: http://www.smallbusinessmajority.org/our-research/workforce/small-businesses-face-barriers-affordable-child-care-support-expanded-access
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse economy. We actively engage our network of more than 55,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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