Why Your Company Should Offer Child Care Benefits to Employees


Why Your Company Should Offer Child Care Benefits to Employees

Why Your Company Should Offer Child Care Benefits to Employees

“The Great Resignation” has hit employers hard. Employees quit in record numbers in 2021, leaving businesses, recruiters, and HR professionals scrambling to replace them. As a result, companies are looking for creative and meaningful ways to attract new employees—and keep current employees from jumping ship to another employer. Traditional in-office perks like catered lunches aren’t cutting it when many employees are working from home or in a hybrid environment. But one perk that tops many workers’ wishlist is child care benefits. 

Working Parents Are Struggling to Find, and Afford, Child Care

In order to truly understand how impactful child care benefits can be for your working parents, it’s important to first understand the issues they are facing. The struggle is real. For starters, many parents had to juggle both their jobs and caring for their children during the pandemic while child care centers were closed or shut down. This has led to burnout, mental health struggles, lost productivity, and ultimately, employees leaving the workforce. 

Even as the world reopens, there are plenty of child care centers that haven’t. It’s reported that more than one in four families with children under the age of five are still struggling to find consistent child care. This could be due to a variety of reasons, including closures (16,000 child care centers across the United States permanently closed during the pandemic), lack of available spots, safety concerns, and even cost. 

In a recent Lending Tree Report, it was noted that families across the United States are now spending up to 29% of their income on child care. This same survey shows that prior to the pandemic the average reported cost of child care from a center-based provider was just under $10,000. Now that cost is just over $14,000—which is a 41% increase.

How Child Care Issues Impact Businesses

On the surface, child care may seem like a parent’s problem, but in reality it also impacts employers. Women left the workforce in droves during the pandemic, including 28% of women with a child under the age of 18. Beyond losing workers, it’s estimated that the U.S. has lost $57 billion in productivity as a result of this child care crisis. When a parent’s care plan falls through or they can’t find a care solution, it causes them to miss more work days. It also affects their colleagues who may need to cover for them while they’re out.

Offering Child Care Benefits for Employees

One way to help combat this lost productivity is by providing child care benefits to employees. This can be implemented in a few ways. For one, you could offer a membership to a marketplace (like Care.com) that makes it easier for employees to find and connect with reputable and vetted child care. The Care platform also has caregivers for adult care, pet care, tutoring, and even housekeeping.

Another powerful care benefit to consider is Backup Care. Should an employee’s normal care fall through, backup care provides them with an affordable, reliable, and vetted option to provide care for their children, adult loved ones, or pets. It also means fewer missed days at work.

Care Benefits Can Create Better Workplace Equity

It can be challenging to create a benefits program that provides true benefit equity among employees. Chances are not every employee will qualify for, need, or even use some of your benefits. However, care benefits (like child care and backup care) will meet the needs of a large number of workers. And if an employee isn’t caring for a person or pet now, they very well could be in the future.

Care benefits can also help promote a company’s diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts (DEI). Studies show that parents of color are more likely to leave the workforce over child care issues than their white colleagues. In this year’s Future of Benefits report, of the 500 HR professionals surveyed, the majority noted that they believe care benefits can help support a diverse workforce. In addition, 63% plan to increase their child care benefits.

Offering child care benefits is one way to retain current employees. It also sends a signal to prospective employees that you are an employer who understands and wants to help them manage life’s daily challenges. If your company isn’t already offering child care benefits to employees, it’s probably time to ask yourself why not.