Wondering what to include in a child care benefit for your employees? UrbanSitter surveyed working parents across the U.S. and asked specifically what types of support parents value the most in a child care benefit from their employer.
What Parents Most Want Included in a Child Care Benefit
- Monetary stipends or subsidies for care (76%): A monetary stipend or subsidy is what parents most want included in a child care benefit, with 76% of survey respondents selecting it. An employer may choose to provide a fixed monthly, quarterly or yearly stipend per employee that is used to offset the high cost of child care. Most commonly, employers offer at least $500 per year per employee according to this child care subsidy benchmark report. Often times, the stipend is used in conjunction with access to a care-finding service – where parents utilize the stipend to pay for child care coverage.
- In-home backup care (59%): The second most requested component of a care offering, requested by 59% of parents, is access to a service that provides last-minute in-home backup care. In light of the pandemic, more parents have been hesitant to put their child into a center-based child care program. If their nanny, au pair or usual caregiver is unavailable (due to sickness, a conflict or emergency) the parent has few care options available. In a high percentage of those situations, the parent takes off work or attempts to work while the child is at home without a dedicated caregiver. By providing a benefit that includes last-minute backup care, working parents have a solution in the event they have a need for backup care.
- On-site child care (50%): Some companies choose to run their own child care center on-site (50% of respondents requested this) or bring in an organization that is able to provide the on-site care. In those environments, there is always a place for working parents to obtain child care coverage. Some employers go a step further and choose to subsidize the child care for their employees or pay a portion of the monthly cost.
- Membership to a child care-finding service (41%): A great addition to any care package (sought after by 41% of survey respondents), is to include a paid membership to an app or website that allows employees to find child care themselves by searching a network of trusted caregivers. An app with intuitive search tools makes it easy for parents to find a child care provider that is a fit for their family. One of the key benefits of a care-finding service is it provides a lot of flexibility for parents. Plus, it helps reduce disruptions at work.
- Concierge support to find care (33%): Concierge support allows an employee to engage with someone who has experience in finding care for families. The working parent would provide a list of what they are looking for and the concierge then goes out searching for someone that meets those needs.
- In-center backup care (32%): With 32% requesting backup care, it’s not a rare occurrence for there to be this need. Parents require last minute care in many situations (school is closed for a snow day, the nanny is sick or an elderly family member has a medical emergency). An option for an employer to provide this care is by working with an in-center backup care program.
- New parent support (25%): Welcoming a child into the family is one of the biggest transitions in life a family can experience. Along with the joy of having a baby comes a lot of uncertainty, especially when it comes to child care for the first time. An employer can support the new parent by providing child care 101 webinars to help them weigh their options and by partnering with child care vendors that are in tune with helping those seeking child care for the first time.
Designing the perfect benefit
There’s no one-size-fits all solution that works for every company and parent population. If you’re struggling to decide on the perfect combination of child care benefit offerings, start by meeting with your parent employee resource groups or send an employee survey to understand the most prevalent child care issues that your population is facing.
Rest assured that by adding a child care benefit – whether through a membership to an app, subsidy for child care, or on-site child care – your company should see fewer missed days of work and more loyal employees. On average, working parents miss 9 days of work per year due to child care challenges. UrbanSitter’s study found that employers who have a child care benefit have more satisfied employees who feel valued, increasing parent loyalty at the same time as decreasing attrition. In fact, 73% of working parents stated they’d be more likely to stay with their current employer if they offered child care benefits.
UrbanSitter’s child care benefit experts are always available to discuss solutions with your company’s child care challenges in mind. Contact us anytime.
Interested in more findings from this study? Download the 2022 Working Parents & Child Care Report.