Report Title:

State Employees; Child Care Facilities

 

Description:

Requires the State to provide state employees with child care facilities and services. Permits State to charge for cost of child care.


THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1120

TWENTY-FOURTH LEGISLATURE, 2007

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT


 

 

Relating to State employee child care facilities and services.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. Research demonstrates the critical importance of quality care in a child's first three years of life for enhancing brain development and cognitive abilities. A child who lacks appropriate relationships and stimulation during these years will be less able to learn, cope with stress, handle emotions, and form relationships. The legislature finds that it is in the best interest of our society that each infant and child be nurtured in a quality child care setting.

As the labor force in Hawaii has shifted in recent years, more parents are working, and infant and child care is becoming a critical issue for families. The legislature finds, however, that a shortage of infant and child care providers and facilities exists in Hawaii, making it increasingly difficult for working parents to attain and afford child care. The legislature notes that there are approximately seventy-eight thousand children zero to four years of age in Hawaii, and only approximately twenty-eight thousand child care spaces. While not all parents are seeking infant and child care services, the numbers illustrate that there are still many more infants and children than available child care spaces. The legislature finds that a gap clearly exists between the infant and child care needs of families and available child care services.

Moreover, the cost of infant and child care is steadily increasing, making it more difficult for families to afford quality care. Families in Hawaii now pay an estimated fifteen per cent (based upon state median income), and rising, of their income on child care expenses. Although some financial assistance is available for low-income families, the need for that assistance far surpasses available resources.

The legislature finds that a changing work force has also contributed to a shortage of infant and child care resources in the State. In Hawaii, approximately seventy seven thousand families with children under six years of age have parents in the labor force. The nuclear family, with a stay-at-home mother, is becoming a thing of the past, as it is estimated that only thirteen per cent of families nationwide now fall into that category. Furthermore, it is estimated that women comprise sixty per cent of all new entrants into the United States' labor market. The current reality is that most new parents are working and must find ways to cope with the conflicting time demands of both work and child care.

The legislature finds that it is well documented that quality child care is an effective tool in supporting working families and helping keep parents in the workforce. However, a lack of quality infant and child care can make it more difficult for parents to obtain employment, retain employment, and move into better jobs. Furthermore, parents who are responsible caretakers may choose to miss work when their children are in unsafe and unhealthy care situations, a choice that may jeopardize the family's economic security and impact the employer's productivity.

The legislature finds, moreover, that problems with infant and child care can adversely affect employers by increasing employee absenteeism, tardiness, and turnover rates and the costs of recruiting and training new workers. In the labor market of the past, these problems did not affect employers on a large-scale, as there were always workers willing to take the place of those leaving. However, in the labor market of today and the near future, a radically different problem exists--locating and retaining workers. Given the changing composition of the labor force in Hawaii and the impact that infant and child care problems can have on employees, the legislature finds that, for employers, employer supported child care is a cost-effective way to control labor costs and enhance worker productivity.

Nationwide, increasing numbers of businesses have already found that employer supported child care is an effective way to attract and retain quality workers. Research demonstrates that employer supported child care generally conveys four benefits on employers:

(1) An enhanced ability to recruit employees;

(2) Lower labor turnover rates;

(3) Higher levels of labor productivity because of greater work experience, low absenteeism, and higher morale in the employees; and

(4) Improved community relations.

The legislature finds that the provision of employer supported child care facilities and services within the workplace encourages new and continued employment on the part of experienced employees.

The legislature finds that addressing the shortage of infant and child care providers in the State is crucial for the well-being of children, families, workers, and employees in Hawaii. The legislature finds that new strategies must be enacted to deal with the increasing demand for child care.

The purpose of this Act is to require the State of Hawaii to provide child care facilities and services to state employees during work hours.

SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Chapter

state employee Child care facilities and services

-1 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

"Child" means a person under an age qualified to enter kindergarten who is the biological, step, adopted, or foster child of an employee.

"Director" means the director of labor and industrial relations.

"Employee" means a person holding a position in the service of a state entity, including the University of Hawaii, irrespective of status or type of appointment, for not fewer than six consecutive months.

"Employment" or "employed" means service, including service in interstate commerce, performed for wages under any contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied, with an employer.

"State entity" means any state agency within the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the State of Hawaii, the office of Hawaiian affairs, or the University of Hawaii.

-2 State employee child care facilities and services requirement. (a) The State shall establish, operate, and maintain child care facilities and services and make available those facilities and services to employees of all state entities.

(b) The State may make employee child care facilities and services available to its employees at a cost that is commensurate with the average cost of child care facilities in the private sector.

(c) All state employee child care facilities and services required under this chapter shall comply with all applicable laws, rules, and certification requirements of the State.

-3 Employment and benefits protection. (a) The use of employee child care facilities and services by an employee shall not result in the reduction or loss of any employment benefit accrued before the date on which the use commenced. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to deny to any employee any employment benefit, right, or position to which the employee is entitled as a result of use of the employee child care facilities and services of the State.

(b) To the extent that the provisions of this chapter contradict or otherwise conflict with any contract rights of collective bargaining agreements in existence as of the date of this Act, the provisions that provide greater benefits to the employee shall control.

-4 Enforcement and administration. (a) The director shall have jurisdiction over the administration and enforcement of this chapter and may hire assistants and other personnel as may be necessary to administer and enforce this chapter.

(b) The department of labor and industrial relations may adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91 to implement the purposes of this chapter."

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $          , or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2007-2008, and the same sum, or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2008-2009, to administer and enforce this chapter.

SECTION 4. The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of labor and industrial relations for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2007.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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