Employment and access to childcare during the Covid-19 crisis

Little consideration appears to have been given to the misalignment between the reopening of many sectors of our economy whilst access to childcare remains so limited. This Research InBrief looks at the extent to which the workforce is likely to be affected by a misalignment between a return to work and a lack of access to childcare.

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This Research InBrief shows that a lack of access to childcare is likely to be a significant issue for a significant proportion of workers across the island of Ireland. Around 40% of workers in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have dependent children. High proportions of such workers also work in households where all adults in the household work. Particular attention is drawn in the Research InBrief to the fact that without Government intervention there is a risk that a lack of access to childcare will become a barrier to labour market participation. It is argued that female workers are likely to be disproportionately negatively impacted in this regard given their dominant responsibility for care needs within the home.

Furthermore, the evidence presented shows that the majority of families with dependent children rely on their wider family circle to assist with childcare. This shows that the issue of a lack of access to childcare is unlikely to be solved through a reopening of childcare facilities alone.

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