Between virtual learning, school shutdowns, and a child care labor shortage, the COVID-19 pandemic required working families to find new solutions for their child care needs. While many employers began allowing remote work and flexible working hours to combat these challenges, working families across the country discovered there was still a tremendous gap to fill when it came to employer sponsored child care.
Employer sponsored child care — sometimes categorized under dependent care benefits — is a company program where the employer covers a portion or the entire amount of the employee’s child care expenses. Oftentimes, a benefits package will include at-home or in-center child care services that employers pay for.
However, caregiving benefits are not a one-size-fits-all model. Employers decide how child care services will disperse to their organization. Some organizations pay for these services as part of direct compensation, and others offer child care as in-direct compensation or non-cash benefits such as insurance, retirement, and paid leave.
If an employer offers caregiving benefits, they could take the form of:
- Local child care assistance: Helping working families access dependable, affordable child care solutions with qualified sitters (Child care services like UrbanSitter offer full background checks for all caregivers)
- Backup child care: Supporting working families in case of an emergency, last-minute cancellation, or interruption of child care plans
- Child care stipends: A specific amount of money allotted to help employees cover child care costs
Interested in learning more about child care stipends and specific benchmarks for employers? Click the button below to download UrbanSitter’s free care stipend infographic!
Why Are Employer Child Care Benefits Necessary?
Without an established employer sponsored child care program, working families often struggle to find affordable child care that suits their busy schedules. If they cannot find trustworthy child care providers, some working parents might resign from their jobs to provide care for their children.
Additionally, employers that do not offer child care benefits actively create an unproductive work environment with a much higher level of dissatisfaction. As a result, these organizations struggle with hiring, retention, burnout, and absenteeism, leaving employees to test the job market elsewhere and find a company that offers caregiving benefits.
It is no mystery that child care impacts working families, but let’s take a deeper dive. Over the past decade, family child care costs increased by 28 percent. Since the pandemic, these numbers have continued to soar, with child care costs rising 41 percent over the past two years. To make matters worse, traditional caregiving options don’t always provide flexible solutions for modern-day working parents who may need emergency backup care, after-hours care, or overnight care.
Related Article: What to Include in a Child Care Benefit
Do Child Care Benefits Affect Employers?
If employers decide to offer caregiving benefits, it’s a win-win. When employees have access to comprehensive child care, they are happier with their company and likely to stay with that organization for much longer. Working families are hesitant to leave a job if they have to alter their child care solution, helping to increase retention numbers throughout the workplace. Organizations can continue to recruit top talent which remains vital in a restrictive labor market still recovering from the Great Resignation.
Employer sponsored child care supports working families and helps establish an inclusive professional landscape for caregivers struggling to find support or return to work. Caregiving benefits lead to a more balanced work setting with:
- Improved job satisfaction and productivity
- Added encouragement and a boost in morale
- Reduced cases of absenteeism
Related Article: 5 Ways Employers Support Working Parents
How Does Child Care Impact the Economy?
Child care benefits not only impact employers and working families, but also prolifically impact the entire economy. Employer sponsored child care plays a significant economic role because:
- Working families cannot remain at work and contribute to the economy without consistent child care
- Child care challenges cost over $50 billion per year in lost productivity, wages, and gross revenue
- Men and women struggle to return to work post-pandemic without proper caregiving benefits
There is potential for a tremendous return on investment for child care solutions and education. The National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs has discovered that child care programs can yield a $4 to $9 return in employment per $1 invested. While caregiving benefits are still in the conceptual stage for many companies, employer sponsored child care plans actively benefit working families while broadening the economy simultaneously.
We’ve covered a lot, so let’s recap what you’ve learned so far with a simplified list. Implementing a robust child care offering helps alleviate pain points for working individuals and families alike; while allowing organizations to remain competitive. Caregiving benefits are necessary because:
- Child care can be too expensive for many working families
- Employers struggle with retention and high turnover
- It is hard to be productive at work without proper child care coverage
- Child care assistance helps women return to the workforce
- Traditional benefits packages don’t typically include child care
Related Article: Child Care Benefits & Working Parent Loyalty
Find Better Care with UrbanSitter
After a significant shift over the past two years, more and more employers are beginning to support their teams with child care benefits. UrbanSitter is here to help kickstart the conversation and provide proper child care benefits to positively impact employers and employees.
Refer to our selection of blogs, case studies, and free resources for employers to learn more about the importance of child care in the workplace and continue the conversation with your teams.
If you’re interested in signing up with UrbanSitter or need more information before starting your caregiving benefit, click the button below to download the Corporate Care Program Brochure.