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Legislation on Child Care

May 06, 1988

I am an employer who is increasingly concerned about the plight of employees and child care. The two-income family is not only a reality, for most families it is a necessity. The burden of responsibility for child care continues to fall on the woman. Not only because of the perpetuation of traditional roles, but because often the woman earns a lower salary and her income (and career, in some cases) are more easily sacrificed. And then there are the single parents. Reliable, low-cost child care is a desperate need in today's society.

I see this issue from two sides: The business owner and the mother (although I am not a mother at this time), and I am convinced that unless the federal and/or state governments encourage employers to be responsive to society's changing needs and underwrite on-site or local day-care centers through tax credits, business owners will not act.

How many welfare mothers could we get trained and working if child care was available at a nominal cost? How many parents would feel better and work more productively knowing that their child was only steps (or at the most, a mile) away?

I suggest a plan to encourage the establishment of day-care centers by employers. Smaller companies could band together and form a center. A plan of tax-free salary reductions for employees (which are already available but not widely offered by employers) to pay for child care on a sliding scale and tax credits for the employer could be just the nudge needed.

I am not proposing that employers pay for child care--that would only cause further discrimination against women in the workplace since it is still widely thought that women are the only responsible party when it comes to children. I am not proposing that the government get involved in running these day-care centers. Business owners would feel more interested and less abused if they have the control, and could administer them more efficiently and less expensively than the government. Insurance help from the government would greatly ease the liability insurance burden. I believe that there are plenty of employers out there who would jump right in and lead the way. I would be one of them.

NANCY D. THOMAS

Long Beach

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