That child care is expensive and often hard to line up comes as no surprise to anyone with small children who works. But there is a particular type of worker who suffers disproportionately from both expense and lack of choices: employees whose hours are “nonstandard”—either widely varying week to week, or assigned as night shifts.
Yes, there are often government subsidies, but many of the most hard-hit workers don’t qualify, as Shane Ferro, a business reporter at the Huffington Post, explains:
There is a government subsidy for child care, for which anyone is eligible if he or she has a kid under 13 (or 19 in certain cases) and qualifies as low income. However, in order to use the subsidy, the child has to be enrolled in a center that accepts government benefits. Most of those day care centers have standard hours and are open from the early morning to mid-evening.
Even the American Enterprise Institute, not exactly a bastion of liberal social welfare advocacy, has issued a report deploring the hardship the current system is exacting from some of the lowest-income (and often single-parent) workers. After all, there is a reason centers are labeled as “day care,” and not “24-hour” or “night care.”
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