The Duchess of Cambridge has launched a business taskforce which aims to support parents in blending their professional and childcare duties. Writing in the Financial Times, Kate argued that employers have a key role in fostering “welcoming, supportive and flexible” workplaces which increase staff’s “social and emotional well-being.” She suggested such an approach would help to promote the development of children and strengthen the resilience of parents. Employers also stand to gain from the creation of a happy, emotionally secure workforce.
The Business Taskforce for Early Childhood includes companies such as the Lego Group, Unilever, and NatWest Group. The taskforce will try to persuade other companies to offer resources to support staff’s personal and professional balance, including time off for family emergencies and mental health help. The prospect of furthering staff training and development and improving the life chances of future employees was also a priority, Kate explained.
In addition, the taskforce will work to raise the importance of early childhood development, including maternal and paternal health, by engaging various administrations and stakeholders. The coronavirus pandemic, the duchess wrote, has underlined existing issues around “parental wellbeing” and “the social and emotional development of our youngest children”. Kate’s latest initiative follows her launch of the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood in June.
The launch of the taskforce coincided with the release of a report from the National Centre for Social Research and Resolution Foundation that highlighted the growing risk of childcare instability. The report found that one in four early-years educators did not think their occupation would last until retirement age, while only 43% anticipated continuing in their role to age 60. The survey of 15,000 workers suggested that 24% of all childcare providers left their jobs in 2019, up from 17% in 2015.