U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve access to affordable child care for families with parents working nontraditional hours. The After Hours Child Care Act would support expanding existing child care programs, or establishing new facilities in some cases, so parents can remain in the workforce and provide for their families while working outside of the traditional work hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Across Indiana and the United States, major industries such as health care, advanced manufacturing, and logistics rely on employees for early morning or late-night shifts, as well as weekend availability. This legislation would help fill these high-demand roles by removing barriers created by child care accessibility, especially in rural communities.
“Hoosier parents rely on affordable child care in order to remain attached to the workforce, advance their careers, and feed their families,” said Senator Young. “Currently, child care options are extremely limited for families, especially in rural Indiana communities. The After Hours Child Care Act will help address the needs of parents working nontraditional hours, enabling them to more easily accept employment opportunities that best fit their needs.”
“As everyone with a young child knows, parenting is a 24-hour job. Our bipartisan bill would help ensure that parents who are working to provide for their family outside regular business hours can still access necessary childcare,” said Senator Hassan. “I will continue working with Senator Young to build support for this important legislation, which will help bring peace of mind to parents across New Hampshire, provide children with the support that they need to thrive, and ensure that parents can go to work and participate in the economy.”
If enacted, the After Hours Child Care Act would:
- Expand capacity for an existing child care program to serve families working nontraditional hours
- Support efforts to establish an on-site child care program at a workplace
- Ensure that federal funds supplement existing efforts by requiring a 25% match
- Require a report every two years on the bill’s effectiveness in improving child care availability
Bill supporters include First Five Years Fund, Bipartisan Policy Center, and Zero to Three.
“Nearly 43 percent of parents in the U.S. work outside the hours of 9-5, making access to affordable child care that much more difficult to find,” said First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling. “Oftentimes parents working nights and weekends make up the workforce that keep our country running, safe, and healthy – but too many of them struggle to go to work or do their jobs because child care providers don’t have the resources or the staff to stay open past traditional working hours. That is why we are so grateful to Senators Young and Hassan for their bipartisan work on this commonsense proposal that would expand access to high-quality, affordable child care for families working nontraditional hours.”
“Effectively addressing the nation’s child care crisis is critical to maintaining a stable workforce. Unfortunately, the needs of working families are not uniform and require innovative and flexible solutions,” said Director of Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Childhood Initiative Linda Smith. “The need has never been greater than it is for hard-working families whose shifts require them to be on-site during non-traditional hours, especially for our first responders, hospital workers, manufacturers, and those in the service industry. Senators Young and Hassan’s bill is a critical step in the right direction in supporting state and industry efforts to secure safe, quality child care for their employees.”
Full bill text can be found here.