The JUST Report: An Unprecedented Back to School Season Is Revealing a Child Care Crisis


As a parent of four, I’m all too familiar with the annual back-to-school chaos. Yet for millions of Americans, back to school this season during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare. Almost three-quarters of the nation’s 100 largest public school districts are kicking off the school year completely remotely, and millions more are operating on a hybrid model, with some learning at home and some in the classroom. And because the spread of the virus is unpredictable, so too are school policies.

This puts parents in a tricky situation. Whether they are working from home full time or part time, or are on the frontline, they have to – in an unprecedented way – find a balance between supporting their families and ensuring their kids are learning.

That’s why this week we’re taking a close look at the state of child care in this country, and where corporate America fits into it. We know from our survey work with The Harris Poll in June that more than half the respondents believe that the government should be responsible for a child care stipend – but with the lack of a federal policy, companies are left with finding solutions for their employees with children.

And while there are companies like Microsoft, Google, and Bank of America that provide excellent benefits for parents, they are exceptions. JUST found that before the pandemic, 6% of Russell 1000 companies provided on-site child care, 8% offered subsidized child care, and 14% offered backup dependent care. In response to the pandemic, 9% instituted or extended their backup dependent care benefits.

A Brookings researcher estimates that this school year the U.S. economy will lose $56 billion in productivity as parents struggle to balance work and child care, and history has consistently shown that mothers will suffer the most in terms of lost wages. Not to mention the lost educational experiences for the kids themselves.

Like many things in America right now, things are hanging in the balance.

Be well,

This Week in Stakeholder Capitalism

Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat announces retirement, Jane Fraser to become first woman CEO of a major U.S. bank.

JPMorgan Chase fires several employees who took COVID-19 relief funds.

Twitter, Apple, and a growing list of corporations are giving their employees paid time off on Election Day so they can vote.

Tyson Foods launches new healthcare clinics for workers to combat the large rate of COVID-19 infections among their employees.

Uber sets a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2040, there are skeptics.

UBS becomes the first major global financial institution to recommend sustainable (ESG) over traditional solutions for private clients investing globally.

Zillow, United Airlines, Nordstrom, and several other large corporations sign a pledge to add more Black directors to their ranks.

JUST Events

​​​​ESG: Where We Are, Where We’re Going, and How We Get There on Monday at 12PM ET: Martin hosts John Goldstein, Head of the Sustainable Finance Group, Goldman Sachs, and Megan Starr, Global Head of Impact, The Carlyle Group, for a conversation on what needs to happen over the next 10 years to transform ESG into general, common-sense investing. Sign up here and tune in live on LinkedIn.

Corporate Leadership in Crisis on Monday at 4:00PM ET: Alison Omens joins colleagues from PayPal and the Surdna Foundation for a Chamber of Commerce virtual roundtable discussion on next generation business leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and racial justice crisis Register here.

What’s Happening at JUST

For Labor Day, we created a piece highlighting what workers have been demanding from corporations in response to the coronavirus crisis, economic fallout, and national reckoning with racial injustice.

Our own Lorraine Wilson shows why criticisms against ESG investing are losing strength – because it’s what the public is demanding and embracing.

Must-Reads of the Week

As wildfires ravage the West, several reports were released detailing the devastating consequences of climate change. One providing a glimmer of hope is a landmark report from federal regulator CFTC on the systemic risk climate change poses to U.S. financial markets.

Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, talks with Fortune to explain why capitalism, in his view, needs an upgrade to address inequities in the economy.

The Wall Street Journal reports on low-wage workers having higher instances of wage theft during the coronavirus crisis.

Jon Fortt & Andrew Ross Sorkin of CNBC take a closer look at the under-representation of Black workers and leaders in corporate America and explore potential ideas and solutions.

Heidrick & Struggles’ 2020 U.S. Board Monitor report shows despite gains in gender diversity, racial and ethnic diversity in the boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies has been slow to stagnant.

Chart of the Week

In light of Labor Day this past Monday, we revisit a chart from early June to evaluate how companies’ treatment of their workers continues to affect financial performance throughout 2020, showing that the top quintile of companies continue to outperform the bottom by 4.7%.

Have questions about our research and rankings?  We want to hear from you!