Story at a glance

  • Many Americans are struggling to find affordable child care and eldercare as they return to work.
  • Melinda Gates spoke to Politico about the necessity of adequate caregiving for workers in the United States.
  • Workers need access to child care, paid family and medical leave and long-term care, she said.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced Americans to confront cracks in the country’s infrastructure that have widened under the weight of a public health pandemic. At the crux of these concerns is the question: Can I take care of myself?


America is changing faster than ever. Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feeds to stay top of the most important news.


Now, as states begin to reopen for business, many Americans are being called back to work. But with schools closed through the end of the year and the nation’s elder citizens highly vulnerable to the coronavirus, workers need access to affordable childcare and elder care. 

"If we want our employees to come back to work, we're going to have to address caregiving," Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Gates Foundation, told Politico.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS IN AMERICA

EXPERTS: 90% OF CORONAVIRUS DEATHS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED

HERE'S WHEN IT'S SAFE FOR YOUR STATE TO REOPEN

HERE ARE THE 6 WAYS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD END

HOW DOES THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AFFECT SUICIDE RATES?

CORONAVIRUS HAS MUTATED INTO MORE THAN 30 STRAINS, NEW STUDY FINDS


Even before the coronavirus pandemic, a poll in November found that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans were in support of a national program to support caregiving, including child care, paid family and medical leave and long-term care. About two-thirds of respondents don't have a plan for their own future care needs, according to the poll. 

Women are disproportionately affected by the issue, with about half of the women surveyed reporting spending more than 21 hours per week on caregiving. The average caregiver puts in almost 36 hours per week.  

"My message to Washington is we have to look at all employees as caregivers. We are caring for those at home. And this hidden cost that our economy is built on the back of is finally visible to all of us," Gates told Politico. 


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS IN AMERICA

EXPERTS: 90% OF CORONAVIRUS DEATHS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED

HERE'S WHEN IT'S SAFE FOR YOUR STATE TO REOPEN

HERE ARE THE 6 WAYS THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD END

HOW DOES THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AFFECT SUICIDE RATES?

CORONAVIRUS HAS MUTATED INTO MORE THAN 30 STRAINS, NEW STUDY FINDS


 

Published on May 14, 2020