Thursday, September 06, 2007

Child Care as an employee benefit

Here are some notes and links I am putting together to try to sell my university on providing or helping to subsidize child care for employees (and maybe even students! talk about a recruitment and retention tool!).

Child Care as an Employment Benefit

I. Benefits to Employer
A. Less absenteeism: Employees who have problems with daycare arrangement often have difficuties with attendance. If a child is sick and cannot attend their regular day care, one of the parents must stay home. Now day care providers often offer an option for sick child care for mildly sick children, in addition to regular day care on-site or near-site. A statewide household survey in Minnesota found that 20 percent of parents reported child care problems that interfered with getting or keeping a job within the prior year and 37 percent reported having lost time or income due to a child care problem other than a sick child (Minnesota Department of Human Services. Child Care Use in Minnesota: 2004 Statewide Household Child Care Survey. 2005.)

B. Better employee focus: When employees are not worried about the care their child is receiving, and can visit over a work-day, they have better focus on their work.

C. Employee loyalty and lower employee turnover: Studies have also shown a remarkable reduction in employee turnover at employers who offer on-site or near-site day care, or even care subsidies as a benefit. In a study of employees with children in company-sponsored child care programs, 93% of respondents said that the work-site child care was an important factor in considering a job change. 19% of respondents had actually turned down another job, rather than lose their work-site child care, and 25% of those who turned down other job opportunities were managers. (Benefits of Work-Site Child Care, Simmons College Graduate School of Management, 1997).

D. Employees often cannot afford good, reliable daycare: The younger a child, the more expensive, because it takes many more care-giver hours for a baby than for a toddler or a school age child. In Boston, where daycare providers are licensed, the price to care for a baby is exhorbitant. It costs between $350-$450 a WEEK for licensed daycare (or $17,500 for a 50 week year) for newborns to 18 months. What percent of an employees' gross income is fair to expect for them to spend for child care? Are they making a choice between doctor care and day care? Or are they placing their children into unlicensed daycare? That's not fair!

E. Some Universities and other employers do offer a variety of child care benefits. Most now offer a savings account through which an employee can designate pre-tax dollars to pay for child care, as well as medical care and medicine, parking and transit costs. But some also offer subsidies on a sliding fee arrangement, based on family income. A few have gone further and offer on-site or near-site day care with some level of subsidy. This would be the most expensive arrangement, but what a powerful recruitment and retention tool.

In summary, employers benefit from providing on- or near-site child care facilities, or at least financial assistance on a sliding scale based on family income:
* Recruitment and Retention
* Turnover
* Absenteeism/Employee Productivity
* Employee Job Satisfaction and Performance

Link to CNN Money - child care benefits at 100 Best Employers

Link Bright Horizons Child Care -- a turnkey operation providing child care as a benefit to corporations and organizations.

Link Children’s Creative Learning Centers, which offers near-site child care in California.

Link, report by Center for Law and Social Policy report on child care assistance, focusing on employment of low income parents, in April, 2006.


Anonymous said...

I searched Google for benefits of day care to support your case, but got this anti-daycare website instead:

Can you believe this? What should I say?

Unknown said...

Child care is one of the major concern for the working mothers.This is surely employee benefit.Employees should take note of it.
Employee Benefits

Unknown said...

You have a really good point when you say that parents focus easier when they know that their child is being well cared for. I've seen it played out several times in my own life. Thanks for posting this.