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Why should employers take an active role in child care? It's Good Business! 

Programs for Parents can work with businesses to provide tailored referral services and counseling for their employees.  To find out more about this service and how it can help a company meets its employees child care needs please call us at 973.744.4050 ext. 1011 and ask for PfP's Director of Education And Innovative Programs or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The workforce has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Today, the majority of skilled employees in the workforce represent parents with child care needs. In fact, in most two-parent families, both parents work to support their family. Furthermore, more than 10 million employees are single parents and 2.1 million of these employees are single fathers (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics). 

Women are participating in the workforce in record numbers. Here are some interesting facts:

  • Over 75% of women who are employed have school-age children. 
  • Sixty-five percent of mothers in the workforce have children under the age of six. 
  • According to forecasts, women will outnumber working men in the workforce within the next decade.

Furthermore, according to a National Study of the Changing Workforce published in 1997 (Bond, Galinsky, and Swanberg, 1998), not only are more parents working, but they are also spending more time at work. Furthermore, today's jobs not only consume more time, they also consume more physical and emotional energy. As a consequence, many families are struggling to balance work and family while providing their children with quality care. This is contributing to stress and work-family conflict. 

Research indicates that quality child care is vital to parents and, as the following research indicates, for employers as well: 

  • Employee absenteeism, as the result of child care breakdowns, costs businesses $3 billion annually in the United States.  
  • 29% of employed parents experienced some kind of child care breakdown and those child care breakdowns resulted in absenteeism, tardiness and reduced concentration at work (Bond et al., 1998).  
  • The average American working parent misses nine days of work per year (Carillo, 2004). As children move through day care and into elementary school, the number of days missed increases to thirteen. These absences are costly for employers, as is turnover, estimated at one and a half times the annual salary for an exempt employee and 75% of annual wages for hourly workers (Phillips and Resiman, 1992). 

Quality child care improves employee productivity, reduces absenteeism and cuts turnover

Employee child care makes sense on many levels. Employers who implement child care programs report workplace improvements and bottom-line savings (Landsman,1994 and Friedman, 1986). Organizations are experiencing tremendous savings by increasing productivity, reducing turnover, lowering absenteeism and enhancing recruiting efforts. Child care programs also have a significant impact on a company's reputation and image. 

  • According to an American Business Collaboration report in 2000, 63% of member employees reported improved productivity while using quality dependent care (ABT Associates, 2000).  
  • 54% of employers report that child care services had a positive impact on employee absenteeism, reducing missed workdays by as much as 20%-30% (Friedman, 1986).  
  • Company child care programs can reduce turnover by 37% to 60% (Ransom & Burud, 1988). 

Helping parents find child care solutions will enhance the productivity of your staff

Companies are working harder to attract and retain the talent that they need to succeed in today's global competitive marketplace. According to the 1998 Business Work-Life study, two-thirds of employers find it difficult to fill vacancies for highly skilled jobs and two-fifths have difficulty filling entry-level jobs (Galinsky, and Bond, 1998). 

  • 85% of employers report that providing child care services improved employee recruitment (Survey conducted by the National Employer-Supported Child Care Project, 1984). 

Employee sponsored child care programs are cost effective 

Employee sponsored child care programs are cost effective. The 1997 National Study of the Changing Workforce by the Families and Work Institute found that: 

  • Two-thirds of employers report that their child care programs far outweigh the costs or are cost-neutral;  
  • 75% of employers who offer flexible work schedules find that the benefits outweigh the costs or are cost-neutral; and  
  • Of those employers with family leave policies, 75% find that the benefits outweigh the costs or are cost-neutral. 

Future Workforce Development

Quality child care is also an investment in the future workforce. Research indicates that high quality child care directly enhances the productivity of both the current and the future workforce. 

Getting Started - Your Local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R) Can Help

We can help your organization address your child care work and family issues. As the hub of child care activity within your community, we provide a broad range of programs and services that are responsive to your needs. In addition to sharing information about local early childhood programs such as early care and education centers, Head Start, family child care, and school-age and out-of-school programs, CCR&Rs can link families to other support services and assist businesses in developing child care programs. 

We offer the following core services and programs:

  • Child care referrals for your employees.  
  • Information on and access to child care subsidy programs.  
  • Consumer education for parents on how to select quality child care.  
  • Data collection and analysis. CCR&Rs are the number one source of all the latest information on early childhood services in your community and across the country. CCR&R staff are available to sit on planning committees to provide data, research and lend technical support in the development of workplace child care programs.  
  • Training. Highly trained professionals, with knowledge of current trends and information in the early childhood field, are available to provide training on a wide variety of topics tailored to your needs.  
  • Technical Assistance. CCR&R staff can provide technical assistance to aid in the development and implementation of a child care program.
  • Advocacy. CCR&Rs participate in a variety of advocacy efforts to ensure that all families have equal access to affordable, high quality child care. 

For more information on how your local CCR&R can help you develop an employee child care program to meet your needs, contact your local child care resource and referral agency. Click here for a list of NJ CCR&Rs. 

Also, click here to visit the Employers and Business Publications page for tools to assist your business in assessing and addressing employee child care needs. 

How Employers Can Get Involved in Child Care

There are a wide variety of child care benefits that you can offer your employees. All of the options described below can be implemented within your company or as part of a larger community initiative. Many of these options can be implemented with little or no cost to the company.

  • Providing Child Care Information. Employees with child care needs are often unaware or unsure where to turn for answers about child care. In order to help employees become well-educated consumers, employers can provide information and counseling that offer available child care options. This service often includes education about what constitutes a quality program and subsidies that are available for lower-income families.
  • Hosting Parenting or Child Care Seminars. Hold lunchtime or after work seminars to inform working parents about available child care resources and support programs for parents. Local resource and referral professionals can be invited to make presentations to your employees. Information can also be disseminated through bulletin boards, newsletters or a library.  
  • Developing flex-time and leave policies. Child care breakdowns, illnesses and family needs result in employee absenteeism and lost productivity. Employers can help avert these conflicts through flex-time and flexible leave policies such as flexible scheduling, compressed time, job sharing, part time options, telecommuting, extended Parental Leave, Use of Sick Leave for Family Illness and Personal Leave.  
  • Providing subsidies for employees' child care expenses. Child care expenses can place severe financial strain on a family. In fact, many families spend at least 10% of their income on child care services. In single-parent or low-income families, the percentage can be considerably higher. Furthermore, the hiOld-sbanagh cost of care prevents some families from choosing the best available quality care. As a result, some parents select unstable arrangements that create stress, reduce their effectiveness at work and may compromise their child's development. Employers can assist families with child care costs in a number of ways including: Dependent Care Spending Assistance Plans (DCAP); Flexible Benefit Plans, Child Care Vouchers or Reimbursements; and Child Care Vendor Plans. 
  • Creating and Supporting Child Care Services. Many employers elect to provide or support child care services by either creating an On-Site or Near-Site Child Care Center or by partnering with other employers in the area and sharing the operating expenses. Additional child care support services may include: Back-up or Emergency Care; Sick Child Care; Odd Hour Care; Before/After School Programs; Summer Camp and School Holiday Care. 

Employer Services

Today’s labor force is increasingly dependent upon a new source of workers- parents who both work, and single parents. Programs for Parents can assist employers who recognize the link between supportive family policies and good business.

Services for employers include…

-feasibility studies, planning and assistance with the implementation of family-oriented policies such as flexible work hours, a wide array of benefits or dependent care assistance plans.

-enhanced child care resource and referral services, on site seminars, information booths and / or financial assistance information tailored to the needs of specific employee groups.

For more information on this or any of our other services, please call 1.866.429.1667

References

ABT Associates (2000). National Report on Work and Family. Cambridge MA. 

Bond, James T., Ellen Galinsky, and Jennifer E. Swanberg (1998). The 1997 National Study of the Changing Workforce, Families and Work Institute. 

Bond, James T., et al.,(1993). The 1992 National Study of the Changing Workforce, Families and Work Institute. 

Carillo, C. ( 2004). A totally new way to think about back-up care. Work and Family Connection. Guest Column 

Friedman, Dana E.(1986). "Child Care for Employees' Kids," Harvard Business Review, March-April. 

Galinsky, Ellen and James T. Bond (1998). The 1998 Business Work-Life Study: A Sourcebook, Families and Work Institute. 

Household and Family Characteristics from the March 1998 Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Landsman, P. (1994). "Juggling Work and Family," Business Insurance, 28, p. 16. 

Phillips, J.D., and Resiman, B. (1992). Turnover and return on investment models for family leave. In D.E. Friedman, E. Galinsky and V. Plowden (eds). Parental Leave and Productivity: Current Research. New York: Families and Work Institute. 

Ransom, Cynthia and Sandra Burud( 1988). Productivity Impact Study of an On-Site Child Care Center, Burud and Associates. 

Survey conducted by the National Employer-Supported Child Care Project, 1984.