ILO study explores how workplaces are helping with childcare to allow more women to remain in paid employment

A new study by the International Labour Office (ILO) says shortfalls in childcare for pre-school as well as school-age children have important implications for working parents, employers and societies as a whole.

News | 08 March 2010

GENEVA (ILO News) – A new study by the International Labour Office (ILO) says shortfalls in childcare for pre-school as well as school-age children have important implications for working parents, employers and societies as a whole.

The new ILO publication, entitled “Workplace solutions for childcare”, explores how workers in both industrialized and developing countries are finding some support for childcare through their workplaces. It says the lack of adequate childcare can impact “women’s labour force participation and gender equality, as well as workplace productivity, economic development, child development and the well-being of families and society as a whole”.

The book examines child care in 10 countries, including France, Hungary, the United Kingdom and the United States in the industrialized world and Brazil, Chile, India, Kenya, South Africa and Thailand in the developing world. Each chapter provides a general overview of childcare policies and realities, as well as case studies presenting examples of specific initiatives in workplaces as varied as plantations in Kenya and information technology companies in India.

By reviewing national childcare frameworks and presenting examples of workplace programmes for childcare, this book provides insights into why and how different partners have come together to develop solutions to help workers with childcare needs. While the role of the employer is important, other partners such as trade unions, non-governmental organizations and organizations specialized in childcare as well as government departments and municipalities are increasingly becoming involved in workplace-related childcare programmes.

The book also examines various workplace solutions to help workers with childcare for pre-school children, as well as before and after school and during holidays, using four main categories: company or on-site facilities, linking to community facilities, financial support and advice and referral services.