Around 20 percent of child care jobs in the U.S. have been lost since February due to the coronavirus pandemic and the industry will face a $50 billion shortfall, according to estimates.

And the loss of an estimated 370,600 child care jobs has largely impacted women, who are over-represented in the industry, according to a recent report from the National Women’s Law Center, 95% of those who lost jobs– about 370,600 in all–were women.

CORONAVIRUS CRISIS LEAVES MANY CHILD-CARE PROVIDERS IN PERIL

By July, around 79 percent of child care workers have been able to reenter the workforce. Despite that percentage, the report suggests that providers are likely to struggle with additional coronavirus-related costs for enhanced cleaning, personal protective equipment and other items or services that may be mandated by local health agencies.

Facility capacity limits to ensure social distancing has also been pointed out as a con since child care providers may not be able to take in as many enrollees as they used to – on top of the public’s fear, which could hamper revenue streams in the process.

WORKING PARENTS ARE HITTING THEIR CORONAVIRUS BREAKING POINT — AND PAYING FOR IT

“High-quality child care allows parents to stay in the workforce, and is particularly important for mothers, who still typically take on most of the caregiving responsibilities at home,” wrote Claire Ewing-Nelson, a research fellow at the NWLC. “Child care workers also provide an essential role in supporting children’s learning and healthy development—more critical than ever for children experiencing the disruption of the public health crisis.”

The NWLC estimates that it will take at least $9.6 billion per month to support the child care sector.

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Child care providers are operating with pandemic-related costs that are meant to protect staff and children from coronavirus. (iStock)

Child care providers are operating with pandemic-related costs that are meant to protect staff and children from coronavirus. (iStock)

In total, the organization asserts that at minimum, $50 billion is needed to stabilize funding for child care providers and provide these essential workers “premium pay.”

For the sake of comparison, the U.S. Senate approved the $58 billion rescue package for the aviation industry in March, which covered the paychecks of some 750,000 employees.

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More than six million Americans have been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to data from the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard, which has been recording cases since late January.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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