Market Analysis

Tackling Childcare in Papua New Guinea

May 6, 2024

The Business Case for Employer-Supported Childcare

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 What are the outcomes for the private sector when 75 percent of working parents are struggling to balance caring responsibilities with their jobs? For businesses in Papua New Guinea (PNG), the costs are substantial and far reaching, with inadequate access to quality and affordable childcare leading to absenteeism and high turnover, affecting business productivity, women’s workforce participation - and the economy. On average, 13.7 workdays are lost employee each year in PNG, due to caring responsibilities.

In this groundbreaking study into childcare in PNG’s private sector, the toll on women is also revealed. Women are more likely than men to quit their jobs, decline promotions, or reject job offers due to the challenges of managing their workload with their childcare responsibilities. Improving women’s access to work is a crucial action that both private and public sectors need to focus on.

There are a range of possible actions for employers, the government, and other stakeholders to explore to back working parents in PNG, supported by case studies and example interventions. As the study found, low-resource intensive actions can have a big impact on working parent’s lives: working more consistently can help to increase household incomes, reduce family violence, improve poverty related health outcomes in children – and influence economic development, potentially lifting GDP per capita by 20.8 percent.

The government also has a key role to play.

The study uncovered strong support for advancing policy conversations to support working parents, updating the Employment Act to include paid parental leave in the private sector.

The business case for employer-supported childcare in Papua New Guinea is laid out in this research, along with the need for innovative and culturally sensitive solutions that accommodate diverse family structures and respect PNG’s cultural practices surrounding childcare and families.