There are so many obvious things that our government could do to support working moms, or working parents in general. Affordable, reliable, quality childcare ranks high on the list. Maternity/paternity leave that is meaningful would also be greatly appreciated.
However, the more I think about this issue, the more I come back to how our government could encourage businesses to care for their employees. Tax incentives are offered to businesses for a whole host of behaviors. Why not tax incentives to encourage businesses to recognize the human needs of their employees?
- I'd like to see tax incentives for on-site childcare. What a difference this could make for parents. It doesn't need to be free to employees, but it needs to be affordable. Maybe consider a sliding scale based on salary. Mothers could go during the day and breastfeed their infants. Parents would be readily available if children became ill. Children would feel a part of their parents' lives, even as those parents head off to work.
- I'd like to see tax incentives for flex-time and telecommuting. These options should be available to many more people (honestly, parents or not). Parents with the option to work more flexible hours can arrange to have one or the other home with the children more of each day. This could be especially beneficial as children begin school and need care before and after the school day.
- I'd like to see tax incentives for offering benefits that improve the lives of families. For example, flexible spending accounts that allow parents to put away pre-tax dollars for child care. These sort of accounts could benefit families in regards to child care, health care, care for elderly family members, etc.
Our government has the power to incentive businesses. I'd like to see it use that power to benefit families and working parents.