On behalf of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association and our member companies, I am proud to testify in support of this bill package enhancing childcare access in our state. Childcare access is a critically important issue for the business community. Businesses across industries throughout the state are facing workforce shortages. Childcare access is a key component contributing to this crisis, especially for working mothers.
The Rutgers Center for Women & Work’s recent report, “The Status of Women in New Jersey” found that while women are largely back to work in our state, there are major changes in their employment now post-pandemic, particularly for low-income women. The report found 20.5% women in households earning less than $50,000 have cut their work hours, 14.6% left their job and 13.2% have taken unpaid leave because of childcare disruptions.
Additionally, the report found that nearly 10% of New Jersey women who were not working sometime between April 2020 and December 2021 indicated they were not working because they were caring for children. In comparison, just 2.3% of men reported not working because of childcare responsibilities.
Expanding childcare access and affordability is a key component of supporting our overall economy and ensuring working parents, particularly mothers, can fully participate in the workforce.
NJBIA is fully in support of these bills to extend enrollment-based subsidy payments for providers, creating grants to increase infant and toddler care slots, providing tax credits to childcare workers that are an integral component of our economy and increasing the eligibility for subsidies for low-income families.
Thank you to Majority Leader Ruiz and Chairman Vitale for sponsoring this important legislation.