Access to quality childcare services is a key constraint to children’s development and parents’ (particularly women’s) labor force participation in Sri Lanka. An estimated 50 percent of three- to five-year-old Sri Lankan children fail to attend pre-school. This shortfall constrains early childhood development, school readiness and sustainable social and economic development. To promote women’s private sector labor force participation in Sri Lanka, reliable, affordable, and quality childcare is essential for making progress. Sri Lanka could raise its gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 20 percent in the long-run by closing the gender gap in the workforce.
The report, The Business Case for Tackling Employer-supported Childcare in Sri Lanka highlights how employer-supported childcare can yield business benefits and how it can be a win-win-win for employees, children and communities. The report shows how 10 Sri Lankan employers provide their employees with childcare-related benefits in a variety of ways.
Access to childcare can foster workplace gender diversity, improve recruitment and retention, increase productivity, and promote access to markets. Despite these benefits, private sector companies have a limited understanding of the business case, best practices, and innovative models for supporting childcare services.
The report prepared in collaboration with UNICEF Sri Lanka is IFC’s first country-specific report on the business case for employer-supported childcare.