Bill could encourage companies to reimburse childcare costs

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Bismarck, ND – Lawmakers have proposed a way to help working parents who struggle with childcare costs.

For it to work, companies would need to help pay for its employees’ childcare expenses. But supporters say the businesses would benefit too.

Allison Chalcraft is hard at work taking care of her son Noah.

“It’s probably the best part of my day,” she said: the best part of a long day.

“I work as a graphic designer at a sign company,” Chalcraft said.

She works full-time in a career she enjoys, but a few years ago, she had to put that career on hold.

“I ended up having to resign because I couldn’t find daycare. I couldn’t afford daycare,” she said.

“Families want access to quality childcare for their children so that they can be at work,” Sen. Erin Oban (D-District 35) said. She called it a workforce issue.

A study from Harvard published last year says 32% of employees who were considered caregivers left a job because of childcare issues.

Chalcraft said that is what happened to her.

“For that whole year, I wasn’t doing what I went to school for and initially what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.”

Sen. Oban co-sponsored a bill that would give tax credits to companies that reimburse employees for childcare costs. She said it helps the parents but also companies attract or retain good employees.

Rick Clayburgh with The North Dakota Bankers Association testified in support of the bill.

“If you go to a community looking for a job, you find an opportunity but if you see that childcare is not available, you just might not give that community a second look,” Clayburgh said.

For Chalcraft, a benefit like that would mean a lot.

“Not only money wise, but it would just really help out just knowing they are understanding of being a parent,” she said.

There was some concern about how this could lower state revenues.
The Senate Finance and Taxation Committee recommended the bill do not pass.

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