It’s Time for Big Public Investment in a Care Infrastructure That Works for Everyone

It’s time for the Biden administration and Congress to deliver for women by investing in a family-friendly care infrastructure that works for the millions of people who need care and support, those who have had to leave the workforce to become unpaid caregivers, and for the paid caregivers who have been historically undervalued.

The cracks in our care infrastructure have existed for decades, but the pandemic brought them to the forefront. We lost generations of economic gains for women when the need to care for children and loved ones forced them out of the workforce. More than 2.3 million women left the labor force in 2020, more than 600,000 of whom were Black and 618,000 of whom were Latina. 

At the same time, the workforce that provides care — most of whom are women, and up to 31% of whom are Black women — was on the front lines of the pandemic without adequate pay or support, and nearly one in six child care jobs that have been lost during the pandemic have not returned. These are the people we rely on to care for us from birth to the end of our lives, yet even before the pandemic, their wages were often not enough to care for their own families. 

We now have the historic opportunity — and responsibility — to prioritize building an equitable, durable, family-friendly care infrastructure as a core part of rebuilding our economy. That means investing in affordable, high-quality child care and long term support and services for aging adults and and people with disabilities so that millions of unpaid family caregivers can return to their careers; creating millions of new care jobs and investing in those jobs to ensure care workers are paid family-sustaining wages, provided benefits, and a choice to join a union; creating an effective, inclusive paid family and medical leave program to allow all people to take care of themselves and loved ones in need; and updating our tax code to center women and communities of color, including permanently expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit. For undocumented care workers, it also means providing a pathway to citizenship to ensure that they have protections and a real shot at economic security and opportunity. 

Making overdue public investments in our care infrastructure isn’t just good for women, it’s a critical part of the country’s economic recovery. Robust investment in the care sector would create millions of new jobs for the women hit hardest by this crisis, generate hundreds of billions in new economic activity, and allow millions of women who have been pushed out of the labor force to return to their own careers. 

As Congress prepares to make landmark investments in physical infrastructure and digital infrastructure, they must recognize that care is also a vital part of our nation’s infrastructure, and the engine that keeps our economy going. 

Now is the time to make bold public investments in our care infrastructure to build an equitable economic recovery that works for everyone.

Signed,

Invest in America
Care Can’t Wait
Women Effect Fund
A Better Balance
Action Center on Race and the Economy
American Family Voices
Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC)
California Immigrant Policy Center
Campaign for Family Friendly Economy
Caring Across Generations
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement and Research (CLEAR)
Center for Popular Democracy
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Coalition on Human Needs
Communications Workers of America
Maine People Alliance
Community Change Action
Demos
Economic Security Project
Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Indivisible
Insight Center for Community Economic Development
Legal Aid at Work
Liberation in a Generation
Littly Lobbyists
Main Street Alliance
Mainers for Accountable Leadership
MomsRising
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Women’s Law Center
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Ohio Women for Joe BIden
Oxfam America Action Fund
Paid Leave for All Action
Partnership for Working Families
PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States
SEIU
Strong Economy for All Coalition
Tax March
The Arc of the United States
The Frontline
TIME’S UP Now
Voices for Progress
Women Effect Action Fund
Women’s March
Working Families Party
World Institute on Disability
Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Broward for Progress
National Partnership for Women and Families
Supermajority
Communications Workers of America
Family Values @ Work
Stand UP Alaska
Her Time