Investing in Care Is Essential Infrastructure

The availability of care and care workers is integral to maximizing workforce participation and building a healthy, resilient economy. A continuum of care for children, sick loved ones, older adults, people with disabilities, and workers themselves is and always has been vital to sustain families, protect jobs, and drive economic growth. But the pandemic has revealed how decades of underinvestment in care—if not ignoring the need entirely—has hurt families and cost millions of women their jobs. In order to equitably rebuild from the pandemic, policymakers must learn from the past year and prioritize robust investments in care as essential infrastructure that makes all work possible. Without measures to fill caregiving gaps, people who have been harmed the most by the economic crisis will continue to pay the price. Policymakers must prioritize quality, affordable child care and early education; permanent, national paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave; home- and community-based services; and higher wages and improved benefits and protections for care workers and early educators.

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