A new survey and report from Clutch reveal just 6% of companies offer childcare benefits to their employees. When you take into account, 70% of families in the U.S. spend more than 10% of their income on childcare, the scope of the problem becomes clear.
The cost is so high, in the report Clutch says child care in 33 states and the District of Columbia is more expensive than college.
Small businesses with a small workforce or limited budget can’t always pay for childcare along with other benefits. But there are creative ways to provide your employees with the support they need when it comes to childcare. And this support is one of the best ways to keep your employees longer, especially with historically low unemployment rates.
The Survey and Key Findings
The survey for this report was carried out with the participation of 505 full-time U.S. employees. Thirty-one percent of these respondents are small businesses with 1 to 50 employees.
The goal of the survey is to learn about the childcare benefits they receive and to determine if there is room for improvement.
In terms of addressing the employers, Clutch says companies should:
- Evaluate which childcare benefits will improve their workplace and fit their budget
- Provide childcare benefits to all employees so that both men and women feel they can advance
- Offer childcare savings accounts to all employees whether their business is large or small
After the conclusion of the survey, three key findings top the list in the report. The first one is the fact only 6% of companies are providing childcare benefits. This is despite 63% of American families with children have both parents working.
The second takeaway is less than half (43%) of working women believe their company provides a fair chance to advance. In the report, Clutch says providing childcare benefits is one more way a company can improve the morale of the women that work for them thus ensuring everyone feels they can advance.
The third takeaway reveals 13% of women are dissatisfied with their company when it comes to childcare benefits. The number is 10% lower for men at only three percent.
What can Companies Do?
The first thing any business can do is to study the marketplace and find out the actual cost of providing childcare benefits. Equally important is to look at the different childcare options and what each one costs.
Childcare subsidies; on-site childcare; flexible employee schedules; predictable employee schedules; back-up childcare assistance; flexible childcare spending accounts are some of the options.
Each of these options offers companies different ways to provide part or full childcare coverage. If the more expensive alternative options are not possible, almost any business can offer flexible and predictable employee schedules.
With flexible schedules, parents can work home some of the time thus reducing the number of days they need childcare. On the other hand, a predictable schedule allows parents to make concrete plans. This means their family time won’t be interrupted.
In addition to these options, businesses should also provide equal childcare benefits for both women and men along with a childcare savings account.
Equal Benefits and Childcare Savings Account
By providing equal benefits for both women and men, working families can have proper childcare services. However, women who don’t receive enough childcare support feel they are limited in their ability to advance.
In the report, Randi Braun, executive coach and founder of Something Major Coaching, says, “Many women believe that balancing taking time off and paying for childcare makes advancing at work too difficult and contributes to their feelings that not everyone has the same opportunity to advance.”
Braun goes on to say, “Basic benefits like paid parental leave and back-up care make a huge impact on employee engagement.”
Affordability is an issue small businesses have to deal with when it comes to childcare. With dependent care flexible savings accounts (DCFSAs), even small firms can help working families with childcare.
By making equal contributions (employer and employee), businesses can provide a yearly savings account. These are tax-free contributions families can use to pay for their childcare-related expenses.
In conclusion Clutch says, businesses have to remember not all childcare benefits cost the same. While some are expensive, other options only require you to be flexible as an employer to make them work. And when it comes to offering benefits, gender shouldn’t even come into the equation.
All employees should get equal childcare benefits, period.
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