Covid Crisis Recovery

Tell Congress: Build a Tomorrow that Better Serves Families

 

Today, the percentage of women in the labor force is the lowest it’s been in 33 years.

Women account for over half of the net job losses since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and women of color were disproportionately impacted. Over half of mothers who left their jobs during the pandemic reportedly did so because their child’s school or daycare closed. While job growth began to pick up in 2021, women are not included: job gains are slow to reach women of color, and 1.5 million mothers still have not returned to  worke.

We must build a society where women and families can not only survive—but thrive.

Each of the three recovery proposals of 2021 — the American Recovery Plan Act, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan — are core pieces of a larger package. While the CARES Act and Omnibus Deal in 2020 focused on the emergency crisis relief, the proposals in 2021 are working toward a long-term recovery plan aimed at improving and building systems needed to ensure a stronger future for all. Collectively, the American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan would make significant investments to expand economic growth and security, support education and bolster the care economy.

Get the Facts

To ensure greater economic security, the plans propose to:

  • Reform unemployment insurance.
  • Extend the expanded Affordable Care Act premium tax credits in the American Rescue Plan.
  • Expand the child tax credit for those families with children six years and older from $2,000 to $3,000 per child, increase it for those families with children under six to $3,600 per child, include 17-year-olds, and make the payments regular throughout the year.
  • Provide workforce opportunities through job training for in-demand sectors, increasing registered apprenticeships, and offering wraparound services for dislocated workers.

In education, the plans:

  • Call for increasing critical funding to Title I programs in high-poverty schools and upgrading and building new public schools and child care facilities.
  • Create a national partnership with states to provide free universal pre-school for three- and four-year-olds, with a priority on those students in high-need areas.
  • Address teacher shortages, teacher preparation and teacher diversity, including preparing and developing special education teachers.
  • Support two years of free community college.
  • Invest in Pell Grants, leading to a $1,400 increase in awards and making Dreamers eligible to receive the grant.
  • Invest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including expanding and strengthening educational programs in high-demand fields (e.g., STEM, computer sciences, nursing and allied health).

The care economy is further bolstered by:

  • Expanding access to home- or community-based care, with increased benefits and training for those workers in the care economy.
  • Ensuring low- and middle-income families have access to high-quality child care, so families do not have to spend more than 7% of their income on care.
  • Ensuring early childhood staff earn a $15 minimum wage and that those with similar qualifications as kindergarten teachers receive comparable compensation and benefits.
  • Creating a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that will guarantee 12 weeks of paid parental, family and personal illness/safe leave by year 10 of the program. It also would include three days of bereavement leave per year starting in the first year of the program.

As women continue to bear a disproportionate burden of the ongoing crises, they need bold measures now. Americans need access to good jobs, affordable health care, high quality child care, and educational opportunities that prepare them for tomorrow’s jobs. But this can only be achieved by addressing a crumbling infrastructure that extends beyond bridges and roads. There is no single answer that will achieve recovery success for everyone.