NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY)– When Katlynn Blackburn decided to go to work in the middle of the pandemic her daughter was nine months old.

“It was extremely hard finding childcare,” she told WAVY.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, two million women left the workforce during the pandemic and a new survey shows 1 in 3 moms are considering leaving the workforce now. That could be nearly 28,000 workers in Hampton Roads.

Childcare scarcity in Hampton Road is hitting families and businesses hard.

“Childcare really has become a top crisis here in the area really for our employees currently and for those who we believe would want to be employed here,” said Instant Systems CEO, Tara Ramsey.

Ramsey told WAVY fewer people are interviewing for jobs with her Norfolk company though she believes there are plenty of qualified workers in the area.

In an effort to help working families and our local economy, EVMS Minus 9 to 5 created a
new Family Friendly Business Tool-Kit. It is a guide for companies looking to hire post-pandemic.

“Sharing of information, changing some policies that better support families are going to go a long way in retaining those employees who may be considering leaving,” explained EVMS Minus 9 to 5 Executive Director Jane Glasgow.

In the front of the tool kit, there’s a checklist where businesses can do a quick self-assessment of their policies. It also offers resources for change.

“We talk about flexible scheduling that’s a really big one,” Glasgow said.

Benefits are another big one. Instant Systems provides health insurance, vision, dental, short-term disability and life insurance at 100% to all of its employees.

“A lot of companies would believe that’s expensive — too expensive but our retention is high, our turnover is extremely low and our sick days are very low as a result so actually we believe that’s a win for the company,” said Ramsey.

It’s definitely been a win for Blackburn who uses paid time off for her daughter’s doctor appointments and daycare holidays.

Making her less stressed and more productive which is good for her family and for business.

“It’s been a blessing to work here,” she said.

Not every company can provide flexible time or 100% benefits but the tool-kit does include other things businesses can do to support working families.

You can check it out here.