FLORIDA’S 2020 Working Parent SURVEY REPORT
The results of our statewide survey on the challenges and experiences parents have encountered relating to child care and employment before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Sachs Media surveyed 900 employed Florida parents of children under the age of 9, from December 1-20, 2020. Margin of error +/- 3.5% at the 95% confidence level. Results are representative of voters in this age range in terms of race, gender, and political party.
Respondents were asked to share challenges and experiences relating to child care and employment, and asked to identify employer benefits that would be valuable to them and/or would promote productivity and loyalty.
In this report, the term “respondents” refers to Florida voters who meet the following criteria:
- Parent of at least one child who is under the age of 9; and
- Employed (but not self-employed) either part-time or full-time, or is actively looking for work
Key Finding #1
- Six in 10 (60%) of respondents say that issues with child care have impacted their ability to participate in the workforce or affected advancement at some point during their career. Greater portions of the following groups say they have experienced this:
- 73% of mothers, compared with 48% of fathers
- Four in 10 (43%) say that at some point they left a job because it interfered with their ability to care for their family. Greater portions of the following groups say they have experienced this:
- 54% of mothers, compared with 32% of fathers
- Greater portions of fathers (79%) report having limited their work hours due to child care issues, compared with 67% of mothers. However, greater portions of mothers report having been stuck in a part-time position as a result of child care issues when desiring a full-time position.
- The following specific consequences were noted for all parents:
- 43% – had to limit work hours
- 28% – turned down opportunities to travel for work
- 19% – quit a job to care for children
- 12% – took a leave of absence to care for children
- 11% – weren’t able to complete training or schooling
- 9% – turned down a promotion
- 8% – moved from full-time to part-time
- 7% – were unable to move from part-time to full-time
- 4% – were fired
Key Finding #2
- 87% of part-time employees and 80% of those who are unemployed but looking say that issues with child care have impacted their ability to participate in the workforce or affected advancement at some point during their career.
- Compared with 52% of full-time employees.
- 67% of those who are currently working part-time or are unemployed and looking say that at some point they left a job because it interfered with their ability to care for their family.
- Compared with 33% of those working full-time
- Most part-time employees have few, if any, parent/child-related benefits or supports.
- For example, just 30% are offered health insurance,
- 28% have some level of flexibility for matters like doctor’s visits,
- 24% are given predictable schedules, and
- 19% receive paid time off.
- Even fewer (12%) are able to contribute to flexible spending accounts for child care,
- 10% say they work in a breastfeeding-friendly workplace, and
- less than 1 in 10 say they receive benefits such as paid maternity or paternity leave, access to lists of resources, child care stipends or subsidies, parenting classes, on-site child care, backup child care assistance, or on-site health clinics or pharmacies.
- Florida parents who work part-time rate their employers an average of 5.6 on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being “not at all supportive” and 10 being “completely” supportive of family and child care needs during COVID-19.
- This is compared to 8.0 among full-time employees.
Key Finding #3
- 72% of Black parents, and 62% of Hispanic parents say that issues with child care have impacted their ability to participate in the workforce or affected advancement at some point during their career.
- Compared to 57% of white parents.
- 62% of Black parents say that at some point they left a job because it interfered with their ability to care for their family.
- Compared with 40% of white or Hispanic parents.
- Even among full-time employees, notable disparities exist in the number and types of benefits Florida parents report receiving. These disparities are noted by income level (with higher-paid employees receiving more benefits) and by race.
- For example, 75% of white parents say they can receive health insurance through their employer, compared with 65% of Hispanic parents and 53% of Black parents.
- This same pattern holds for other benefits such as paid time off and predictable employee schedules. Benefits also appear to increase with the size of the company, with those working for companies of 20 or less employees reporting far fewer benefits than do employees of larger businesses.
Key Finding #4
- 78% of those earning less than $50,000 a year say that issues with child care have impacted their ability to participate in the workforce or affected advancement at some point during their career.
- Compared to 63% of those earning $50,000-$100,000; and
- 48% of those earning $100,000+
- 70% of parents earning less than $25,000 a year say that at some point they left a job because it interfered with their ability to care for their family.
- Compared to 63% of those earning $25,000-$50,000;
- 43% of those earning $50,000-$100,000; and
- 27% of those earning $100,000 or more
- 55% of those whose children are eligible for Head Start or School Readiness programs say they have had to quit a job to care for children.
- Compared with 22% of those whose children are not supported by these programs.
- Another 40% of this low-income population say they were unable to complete schooling or training because of child care issues.
- Compared with 16% of those earning more.
Key Finding #5
Respondents were asked to identify which parent/child-related benefits or supports would be most valuable to them – overall, and in terms of which three would be MOST valuable. Further, respondents were asked to identify which benefits would have the greatest impact on their productivity at work, and which would be most likely to inspire loyalty to their employer.
- Selected as “valuable” were
- paid time off,
- paid family leave
- flexibility, and
- health insurance.
- For loyalty, the top benefits identified were
- health insurance
- paid time off,
- flexibility, and
- paid family leave.
- For productivity, top selections were
- paid time off,
- backup child care, and
- on-site child care.
These selections are largely consistent among demographic groups. Where differences exist, they are fairly intuitive: The youngest cohort of parents (ages 18-34) is more interested in paid maternity and paternity leave compared with parents who are ages 35 or older. Similarly, interest in child care stipends drops off significantly among parents ages 45 and older, many of whose children would already have entered the PreK-12 school system and would no longer be in need of paid day care.
Key Finding #6
- Prior to the pandemic, 44% of respondents say, child care had caused at least one productivity-related issue at work, including
- leaving early (32%),
- being late (24%),
- being absent (21%),
- being less productive (9%), or
- being less reliable (8%).
- In the past six months, however, 65% report having experienced at least one of these issues, including
- leaving early (48%),
- being late (38%),
- being absent (33%),
- being less productive at work (32%), and
- being less reliable (21%).
- Consistent with the survey’s key findings, these impacts are felt by greater portions of mothers, lower-income parents, and parents who work part-time, meaning that those who are already struggling as working parents are struggling more during the pandemic.
- Interestingly, few to no meaningful differences are noted between those working for smaller versus larger employers, or those working in various industry sectors. This suggests that many of the child care-related challenges facing parents may be universal.
- Florida parents rate their employers an average of 7.7 on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being “not at all supportive” and 10 being “completely” supportive of family and child care needs during COVID-19.
- Satisfaction with employers is also greater among parents who are given the opportunity to work remotely at least part of the time, compared with those who must work entirely in an office setting.
Breakdown of Common Benefits in Florida
From most common to least for full-time employees:
- 69% – Health insurance
- 64% – Paid time off
- 57% – Flexibility to take care of family needs like doctor’s visits
- 42% – Flexible spending accounts (FSA) for child care through pre-tax deductions
- 39% – Predictable employee schedules
- 33% – Paid family leave for mothers and fathers
- 25% – Paid maternity leave (for mothers only)
- 24% – Breastfeeding-friendly workplace
- 11% – Provides list of local resources, programs, and services that are available for your child
- 7% – Backup child care assistance
- 7% – On-site health clinic or pharmacy
- 6% – On-site child care
- 5% – Parenting classes or support groups
- 4% – Child care stipends or subsidies