Most employers recognize the importance of family life to their employees. But many do not think about how they can help employees to achieve an improved work-life balance. Nor do they consider the positive impact this balance will have on the company's bottom line.
Today, the average parent loses eight days of work every year because of child care problems. Lost days add up to lost productivity. But parents who are secure about their child care are less likely to miss work or lose focus on the job.
Employee peace-of-mind provides benefits to employers beyond increased productivity. Child care programs have been linked to lower turnover, increased employee loyalty and improved morale, which result in reduced training costs and a better return on recruitment efforts.
What do employers gain from offering child care programs?
How can I help my employees?
The Departments of Community and Economic Development, Public Welfare and Revenue, along with participating businesses, have joined forces to support the business community's effort to connect employees with quality child care options.
Here's how to get started:
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the greatest benefit to starting an employer-supported child care center?
Taking the step to open a company child care center is not just a public image-enhancing step. Companies with child care facilities say that the biggest outcome is an increased ability to recruit and retain good employees. Fewer absences due to child care needs is also an advantage, along with greater productivity from happier workers.
What percentage of employers offer company-supported child care?
About 8,000 employers nationwide, or 9 percent.
How much do most companies spend to support on-site child care facilities?
Often, companies will pay for space, maintenance and utilities, or about one third of the operating cost. They may also pay a fee to another company to come onsite and manage the child care facility. For more information on the costs of offering company-supported child care to your employees, visit the Work & Family Connection.
I am a senior manager of a large local company. I have been asked to participate in a collaborative board in my company's community that is addressing the issues of child care. I realize this is an important issue, but my time is precious. Is company representation really necessary?
Yes, it is critical for you to realize that this board's efforts will affect your employees and therefore your business. Recognizing your time limitations, we recommend that you attend the first meeting and get a sense of the direction the board hopes to take. If you support the efforts you see, assign one of your employees to the project as a representative of the company. Make sure the employee has access to the appropriate information he/she needs to participate, and has your continued support. When your employee reports the board progress, you may find other ways you can support their efforts (i.e., writing a letter to other companies in the area encouraging support, etc.) without taking up too much of your time.
In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is there a population representing potential employees that may be hesitant to join the job force due to day care issues?
Twenty-six percent of the children in our state live in households with parents who do not have full-time, year-round employment. This population of adults may be challenged by the high costs and offerings of many child care facilities statewide. Often, parents decide the benefits of staying home with their kids far outweigh the costs of child care, both in dollars and in the quality of care.
I am an employee of a large local company and would like to encourage my employer to start a child care service on the premises. What do I do next?
Do you see a need around you? You probably do. Your next steps are critical to the potential success of your project. Seek support from senior management, and recognize that companies are in the business of making money and will see this project as a good idea only if they have supporting data to indicate the dollars they are losing due to employees' challenges with child care problems. They also need to know the potential costs. Get permission to gather the information you will need to support your idea. Projects like this take time to come to reality -- but they are well worth it!
Many of our employees are single parents, which causes problems when they have a sick child that has to stay home from child care. Is this a bigger problem in PA than elsewhere?
Twenty-five percent of our children live in households headed by a single parent, ranking Pennsylvania 13th in the country. Child care problems encountered by single parents are a national challenge.
Links for Businesses
The Boston College Center for Work and Family, located within the Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, is a research organization dedicated to increasing the quality of life for working families by promoting the responsiveness of workplaces and communities to their needs.
The U.S. Department of Labor is charged with preparing the American workforce for new and better jobs, and ensuring the adequacy of America's workplaces. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of over 180 federal statutes.
The Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) fosters opportunities for businesses and communities to succeed and thrive, thereby enabling Pennsylvanians to achieve a superior quality of life. DCED can provide information about tax benefits that are available to companies that establish and maintain quality child care programs.
Publications for Businesses
Business Leaders and Community: Working Together for Change
Martin J. Blank, George R. Kaplan, Institute for Educational Leadership, Publications Department, 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 310, Washington, DC 20036, 202-822-8405. This publication presents an overview of interviews of 22 corporate leaders and what they have been doing in and with high-poverty communities. The report aims to spotlight some of the strategies that could help draw executives closer to taking active roles helping to solve the complex problems of their communities.
Additional Resources for Businesses
Small Business First
Small Business First provides low-interest loans through area loan organizations, Community Development Financing Institutions or other approved community-based lending organizations. If you operate a small business of 100 employees or less and are located in a distressed community as designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, you may be eligible. Call 1-800-379-7448
Local Economic Development Assistance (LEDA)
Local Economic Development Assistance (LEDA) provides grants to local economic development agencies on behalf of two or more businesses seeking to offer child care services to their employees. If you are working with such a business, this grant may assist with start-up costs. Call 1-800-379-7448