Employer-Sponsored Child Care
New responses to child care needs arise as more and more parents enter the workforce. The most rapidly growing segment of the workforce, in fact, is married women with children under one year of age. To meet the needs of working parents, employers are increasingly called on to provide affordable, accessible, quality child care. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, corporate-supported child care is one of the fastest growing employee benefits. But employer-sponsored child care is not new: the Stride Rite Corporation started the first on-site corporate child care program in Boston in 1971.
On-site child care provides a number of advantages for parents:
- Parents can drop in on breaks for lunch.
- Mothers with infants can stop in to breast-feed.
- Mothers and fathers can stop by to tend to babies.
- Parents can carpool with their children, saving time in the drop-off and pick-up process.
- Parents have the peace of mind knowing their children are close, safe, and well cared for.
Many corporations have child care management programs operate their child care programs for them. And instead of providing on-site care, other employers provide different types of child care assistance:
- Resource and referral services. Corporations supply information and counseling to parents on selecting quality care, and they make referrals to local child care providers. These services are offered in-house (i.e., on site) or through community or national resource and referral agencies.
- Direct aid. Some companies provide a flat subsidy—a specific amount to help cover the cost of child care. For example, Nations Bank, the largest bank in the South, pays its associates with limited incomes up to $35 per week to pay for child care.
- Voucher systems. Corporations give employees vouchers with which to purchase services at child care centers.
- Vendor systems. Corporations purchase spaces at child care centers and make them available to employees either free or at reduced rates.
- Contributions to a child care center. Corporations pay a subsidy to help reduce rates for employees at a particular center.
- Parent-family leave. Some corporations provide paid or subsidized leaves of absence for parents in lieu of specific child care services.
- Other arrangements. Employers can offer a flexible work schedule so that parents need less or no child care. They may also offer a maternity leave extension and a paternity leave, as well as allowing sick leave to include absence from work to care for a sick child.
For example, Citibank provides employees with programs to help them meet the challenges of their work and personal responsibilities. Citi offers several kinds of quality child care solutions to help employees succeed. In fact, Citi is one of Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.” Programs include the following:
- Full-time child care centers and 11 back-up care centers, on or near-site.
- More than 500 work locations served by Just in Time Care in 27 U.S. states.
- 106,000 employees covered by full-time care, back-up care, before- and after-school care, summer or school holiday programs.
- Child care discounts in place nationally in the United States.
- A family care subsidy for eligible employees.
© ______ 2009, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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