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Utah’s economy will be shaped by family-centric work policies


Sep 1, 2023

In the rapidly evolving landscape of our new economy, family-friendly work policies have become essential for vibrant families and successful businesses. These policies address the needs of employees with families and foster a positive and supportive work environment. Utah, known for prioritizing family values, is also considered a child care desert. Research shows that the majority of Utahns do not have access to child care services due to limited proximity or affordability. This lack of child care has significant consequences, including a loss of output amounting to $1.36 billion annually for Utah’s economy.

However, there is good news. Companies that prioritize family-friendly work policies benefit from increased employee retention and attraction. Employees who feel supported in managing their familial responsibilities are more likely to remain committed to their jobs. Furthermore, family-friendly policies serve as a differentiator for job seekers, attracting highly skilled professionals who prioritize work-life balance and family-supportive work environments. Research also shows that there can be up to a $9 return for every dollar invested in child care.

By implementing family-friendly policies, companies can encourage more individuals, especially parents, to remain active participants in the labor force. Removing barriers such as rigid schedules or insufficient time for child care allows more of the population to engage in productive employment. This expanded workforce would alleviate workforce challenges and lead to increased productivity and output. Additionally, companies offering family-friendly work policies have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent. Support systems like on-site daycare or flexible schedules reduce turnover and improve productivity, minimizing recruitment costs.

Fostering a culture that prioritizes work-life balance enhances morale and ensures employees are mentally and emotionally present at work. When women feel supported in their professional journeys, they are more likely to remain in the workforce, pursue leadership positions, and contribute their skills and expertise to the economy. This increased gender equality leads to a more diverse and inclusive workforce, fostering innovation and economic growth.

Affordability is a significant factor in child care decisions. When parents cannot afford the market rate, many drop out of the workforce. It is crucial for society to recognize the importance of family-friendly work policies and work together to implement proactive improvements. To support this initiative, the Salt Lake Chamber’s social nonprofit, Utah Community Builders, and its partners have released a resource guide for business leaders to implement family-friendly policies in their organizations.

As businesses and policymakers recognize the importance of family-friendly policies, both our workforce and economy will benefit. It is time for Utahns to take active steps to address child care challenges and elevate corporate cultures in our state. Together, we can lead the way and create a more supportive and prosperous environment for families and businesses alike.

By Editor

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