Employer-supported childcare significance to employees and Early Childhood Development

ILO and UNICEF launch the ‘Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Egypt’ report in collaboration with MOSS and FEI

17 October 2022
ILO and UNICEF launch the ‘Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Egypt’ report in collaboration with MOSS and FEI
UNICEF/Egypt 2022

CAIRO, 17 October 2022- The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS), and the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) launched today the ‘Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Egypt’ report which generated evidence that will encourage Egyptian business owners to invest in childcare services for their workers.

The launch witnessed the participation of H.E. Dr. Nivine El-Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity, Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, Mr. Eric Oechslin, Director of the Technical Team of the North African Decent Work and the ILO Country office of Egypt and Eritrea and Ms. Basma Osman, Senior Consultant at the Federation of Egyptian Industries. The report launch was followed by a joint panel discussion on the economic importance of nurseries for the private sector. 

The ‘Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Egypt’ report shows that, providing childcare benefits and services at work most commonly lead to higher motivation levels, improved performance, and higher staff retention rates, especially among female employees. This in turn leads to higher profits and business growth. The report also calls for creating new partnerships and establishing public private networks to design and implement policies and services that guarantee child rights, women economic empowerment, and sustainable development. 

Dr. Nivine El-Kabbag, Minister of Social Solidarity said “ the Government of Egypt and the Ministry of Social Solidarity are mainly focused on the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme and the journey to develop and improve the status of nurseries (from the age of one day until the age of four years) and is not only limited to developing nurseries only, but also presenting a broader vision to work on producing a curriculum (age one to four years)  which ensures that all differences between children are taken into account.”

The Minister added “accordingly, the ministry is working to expand the establishment of nurseries within factories and work sectors by activating the law governing  nurseries in factories and workplaces that contain more than 100 workers, as Article 56 of the draft law constitutes that the employer who recruits 100 female workers or more in one place must establish a nursery for his workers’ children under the terms and conditions articulated in the body of the Child Law.”

The ‘Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Egypt’ report is implemented within the framework of UNICEF’s Early Childhood Development porgramme (ECD), and ILO and UN Women’s joint project “Promoting Decent Employment for Women in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine” funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Mr. Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt stated “I am glad to jointly launch this report with MOSS, ILO and FEI as a major step towards the formation of a productive workforce and work environments. The report shows how nurseries at work are essential to Early Childhood Development (ECD) as it is an opportunity to shape the physical, intellectual, and social foundations of a child’s future. As the demand for affordable childcare services is increasing among working parents, UNICEF works closely with MoSS and development partners to support investing in family-friendly policies that lead to healthier and better-educated children and to the well-being of Egyptian families.”  

The study examined previous and current childcare services provided to employees in 108 organizations in 7 governorates representing specific business sectors known for their high participation of women within their workforce.

Mr. Eric Oechslin, Director, ILO Cairo office stated that “The International Labour Organization (ILO) is devoted to promoting social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights, pursuing its founding mission that social justice is essential to universal and lasting peace.

In his speech, Mr. Eric emphasized on the importance of the tripartite (governments, employers, and workers’ organizations) coalition and successful partnership with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, UNICEF, and the Federation of Egyptian Industries, as ILO aims through these successful collaborations to benefit women and men equally, and inequality is not perpetuated. This which in return contributes to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) commitment of “leaving no one behind”

The care economy is growing as the demand for childcare is increasing in all regions, it will thus create a great number of jobs in the coming years. However, care work across the world remains characterized by a void of benefits and protections, low wages or non-compensation, and exposure to physical, mental and, in some cases, sexual harm.

The report launched today also reflects on the state of childcare facilities in selected FEI member companies, presents case studies and recommends childcare models that could be implemented by companies.  

Dr. Basma Othman, Senior Consultant, Federation of Egyptian Industries, Egypt stated that “Businesses are losing out on good talents because of the lack of childcare facilities. Establishing nurseries is huge leverage point to empower women and to retain talents within our businesses. The FEI is trying to promote better businesses and finding better solutions for key elements in the eco system or suggestions for businesses to improve their performances in a very competitive world”.

The study reveals that, the high cost of childcare services representing between 20 to 30 percent of income; restricts women's ability to work or forces them to opt for informal low-paid jobs. So, it is critical to integrate getting women into the workplace with the importance of early childhood development goals. The study also found that having access to childcare benefits gave women a 58% higher chance of receiving a promotion at work.

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