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L.A. Policy Urges Businesses to Promote Child Care

Times Staff Writer

A city policy that allows the awarding of contracts, under certain conditions, to companies addressing child-care needs of employees was unanimously adopted Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council.

The policy, which could affect about 1,600 companies that have provided either services or products to the city, is aimed at encouraging businesses to establish child care for their workers. Under the policy, companies that have considered child care and have determined employees do not need it also qualify. Councilwoman Joy Picus, sponsor of the child-care policy, said its unanimous adoption “sends a strong message to the business community that child care is critically important to the city of Los Angeles.”

Under the policy, preference for city contracts would go to businesses having or considering child-care programs under the following conditions:

- If two or more businesses submit bids for the same price on goods or services.

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- If a contract is less than $25,000.

- If a contract is for only occasional and temporary services.

Officials said the city’s purpose is not to force businesses to provide or facilitate child care, but rather to educate companies on the growing need for the service. A company, for instance, may qualify for the preference even if it determines that a child-care option is neither needed nor feasible.

The city policy suggests at least 18 ways in which a business may satisfy the child-care provision, including providing referral services, flexible work schedules, subsidized child-care centers and parenting seminars.

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Mayor Tom Bradley, who joined Picus at a Wednesday morning news briefing on the issue, said that “two working parents in a family is commonplace in today’s society, making affordable and available child-care services all the more necessary.”

“Our new policy will require thousands of businesses to wake up and join this child-care revolution,” Bradley said.


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