Working parents want more of it

Federal data shows that employee absenteeism and job turnover decrease when companies provide childcare.

However, on-site childcare was the least frequently offered family-friendly benefit in an evaluation of 1,700 companies, according to a new report from research organization Best Place for Working Parents in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Southern Methodist University Center for Research and Evaluation. .

“Adequately supported, high-quality company child care tends to have the greatest perceived value for employees and one of the highest returns for the company,” said Sadie Funk, national director of Best Place for Working Parents.

The report also found that:

  • Larger companies offer a wide range of family-friendly benefits, while smaller companies focus on some very high-impact benefits, such as on-site child care and standby child care.
  • The construction industry leads the way when it comes to providing maternity leave, child care assistance, and custodial child care policies.
  • The healthcare industry offers more on-site child care policies than other industries.

Insufficient child care costs working parents $37 billion a year In lost income, employers generate $13 billion annually in lost productivity. A 2021 survey of 2,500 working parents found that nearly 20 percent had to quit work or reduce their hours solely because of a lack of child care.

About 78 percent of the 825 unemployed individuals who sought employment said they needed full-time child care five days a week to return to work, according to Report 2021 According to the best places for working parents.

Funk noted that on-site child care offers a valuable tax benefit For businesses and can create significant talent retention and attraction benefits – significantly boosting business performance.

Childcare resources are at the top of the list [of preferred family-friendly benefits] For working parents, it can be a huge differentiator in attracting and retaining top talent. “Childcare is not an advantage but a necessity for the success of parents and employers alike.”

Alternative child care resources

Employers that do not offer on-site childcare can still be effective in supporting working parents, said Sarah Reddington, chief philanthropy officer at the Miles Foundation in Fort Worth, Texas.

Perks that can help these workers include childcare stipends, resource and referral support, and flexible savings accounts for dependent care.

“Overall, it’s clear that childcare assistance can be a key factor in talent retention and one of the most impactful and appreciated family-friendly benefits,” Reddington explained.

Flexible work hours and remote work options give working parents the autonomy to get work done through an unconventional schedule, while also prioritizing and being present for important parenting moments, like attending a school function.

“Many of our Best Place for Working Parent award winners cite flexibility and remote working as the foundation of their culture of supporting working parent employees,” Reddington added.

Family-Friendly Benefits: Good for Business

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many working parents to leave the workforce, reduce their schedules, and consider different career paths or types of jobs, said Jill Holtzman, an attorney at law firm Taylor English in Tampa, Florida.

The brunt of these challenges was felt by women, who were largely tasked with meeting the demands of work while caring for their parents and children.

“Some employers, such as in the hospitality industry, have had to cut back their hours due to staffing shortages,” said Holtzmann. “Employee benefits that will encourage employees to stay in the workforce are becoming increasingly important.”

Reports have shown that 70 percent Women who left the workforce, many of whom were fathers, could have stayed for more flexibility. The loss of parents can erode the social fabric of the organization and increase burnout among other employees, According to a 2021 McKinsey and Company study.

Family-friendly benefits can help employers enhance an overall company culture and support a more inclusive and diverse workplace important for attracting and retaining talent, according to 2020 Emerging Trends in Healthcare Survey.

And Reddington noted that workplaces with family-friendly benefits perform measurably better than their competitors in revenue growth, employee retention, productivity, innovation, flexibility, agility, and customer service.

“We know that companies compete for the best talent in a very competitive job market,” said Reddington. “And family-friendly policies have become not only valuable in this effort — but critical.”

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