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NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka joined a panel discussion hosted by Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) on Monday to address childcare challenges in New Jersey.

The event, which was held at the Learning Path Preschool in Chatham, was an opportunity to discuss the high costs of childcare for working parents and a labor shortage in the daycare industry.

Sherrill used the forum to tout her “Child Care for Every Community Act” legislation, which would fully subsidize child care costs for most families and ensure that families with higher household incomes pay no more than 7% of their income for childcare.

Siekerka said the legislation could have “extraordinary impact” on childcare challenges in New Jersey and the nation.

Siekerka cited a 2023 Ready Nation report that found the economic cost of the infant care crisis more than doubled from 2018 to current to $122 billion.

“Now, what does that break down to: $78 billion in lost parent income, $23 billion in lost business output and $21 billion in lost tax revenue nationally.”

As for how childcare challenges affect businesses, Siekerka said “employee productivity has a significant impact on output.

“Eighty-five percent of primary care takers express each and every day that being a working parent causes their inability to be productive at work – because of the concern and stress of childcare,” Siekerka said.

“These workers are distracted. They have to take time off in the middle of the day and we all know if you take 30 seconds to pause a task, it takes you three minutes to come back. The stresses of childcare and how it impacts one’s efforts and commitment to their work go hand in hand.”

To see a video of the full panel discussion, click here.