Where do rich countries stand on childcare?

Even before COVID-19, some of the world’s richest countries were failing to offer comprehensive childcare solutions to all families. In some instances, this reflected their policy priorities rather than available resources. The COVID-19 pandemic also challenged children’s education, care and well-being as parents struggled to balance their responsibilities for childcare and employment, with a disproportionate burden placed on women. In the context of lockdown and school closures, childcare was one of the worst affected family services and had a significant knock-on effect. This report shows how governments can help parents through paid parental leave, followed by affordable and high-quality childcare. Using the most recent comparable data, it assesses the parental leave and childcare policies in the 41 high-income countries that are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the European Union (EU). The report concludes with nine recommendations for how policies can be improved to provide comprehensive solutions to all families.