WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA-5) underscored the challenges facing families when it comes to finding accessible child care after a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO) revealed that employer-provided child care credit is offered to just over ten percent of workers. The report evaluated the employer-provided child care credit, a tax incentive for employers to provide child care to their employees. A long-time advocate for women and families, Clark requested the report to better understand the child care landscape and to identify solutions to secure high-quality, affordable child care for all.
The report analyzed the use of the credit, including the challenges employers face and the benefits employees receive from child care services. The report found that several factors limit employers’ use of the credit and that only 11 percent of all workers have access to employer-provided child care. The report also outlined recommendations based on GAO interviews with stakeholders to help increase employers’ use of the credit, including increasing outreach and education about the credit and addressing design factors to help more employers take advantage of the credit.
“For too long, America has failed to recognize child care for what it is: an essential piece of our economic infrastructure. Nationally, we lose a staggering $57 billion per year in earnings, productivity, and revenue when parents can’t find affordable quality care,” said Assistant Speaker Clark. “Businesses are a major piece of the puzzle when it comes to solving the child care crisis, and this report clearly shows that more must be done so that our private sector partners can help bridge the care gap. I am eager to see GAO’s findings put into action to increase the use of this important tax credit and get parents back to work.”
The report was requested by Clark and House Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee Chairman Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) and Ranking Member Steve Womack (R-AR-3), and Senate Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ranking Member Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS).
The report language as written by Clark, Quigley, Womack, Van Hollen, and Hyde-Smith directed the GAO to conduct an evaluation of the employer-provided child care credit and report to the Committee within one year of enactment of this Act with information that may include the following: the common characteristics of employers that are using the child care credit, challenges identified by employers that are not using the credit, and the extent to which employees benefit from available child care when employers use the child care credit. GAO also was asked to include any recommendations based on their findings regarding the use of the tax credit to ensure employees have access to child care, and the Committee directed the IRS to provide any data that GAO may request for this report.
Assistant Speaker Clark is a leader in the fight for universal pre-k and affordable, quality child care. Last year, Clark helped secure $40 billion in child care relief funding in the American Rescue Plan to keep child care and Head Start programs open, helping child care providers to stay afloat, get parents to get back to work, and ensure that businesses can still thrive during the pandemic. Earlier this month, she led a letter to President Joe Biden urging his Administration to include child care providers in their plan to increase access to COVID-19 testing and N95 and KN-95 masks across the country. Clark is also the author of the Child Care is Infrastructure Act, a comprehensive child care package that makes critical investments in child care facilities and the early education workforce.