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Find Creative Options to Meet Your Workers' Childcare Needs
These days there are ever-increasing numbers of two-working-parent households. Employers are recognizing that of all employee benefits, childcare arrangements rank high among workers who are parents. Such benefits make it easier for parents to work effectively without worrying about the steep costs of childcare or the inconvenience caused by a lack of quality childcare. Employers are learning that the retention rate of employees increases drastically when they are provided with childcare benefits and are capitalizing on the trend of making the workplace more accessible to parents. There are several options for offering childcare benefits for employees.
Employers have the option of setting up reimbursement plans that allow employees the option of using pre-tax dollars to pay for childcare and dependent care expenses. These plans cover costs that are not included in the employee's regular benefits package. Reimbursement plans are a benefit for employers because they defray the high cost of childcare, giving the employee more options for quality childcare and causing fewer childcare-related work interruptions.
2. On-Site Childcare
For a high return on investment, employers should consider setting up a childcare center onsite that is accessible to employees and company staff. Onsite childcare results in lowered commuting costs and higher worker productivity. Onsite childcare also results in lowered costs related to maternity leave. New mothers can bring their babies to work and return to work sooner with the assurance that their infant is nearby. This is an added bonus for nursing mothers who cannot be separated from their babies for extended time periods. Some onsite childcare centers provide closed-circuit camera systems that allow parents to monitor their children from the comfort of their desks.
3. Back-up Childcare
For any parent, a caregiver who suddenly becomes ill and cannot care for the child creates a logistical nightmare. Employers that provide onsite childcare can eliminate this burden and make it easier for workers to make alternate arrangements for their children in these situations. Some employers offer parents the option of using the back-up childcare service several times a month, quarter, or year.
4. Resources and Information
Sometimes the most valuable and cost effective benefits that an employer can offer parents are the resources and information to assist them in their search for quality childcare. They can provide referrals to licensed childcare facilities in the area. They can bring in a lactation consultant for nursing moms and provide a private and sterile area where they can pump milk. Another option is to assist fathers in gaining information about paternity leave. It's a good idea to arm your human resources department with information and tools to deal with issues such as single parenting, adoption, and postpartum depression.
Your company's human capital is its most valuable resource. By accommodating the childcare needs of your employees who have children, you will be making an excellent investment that will garner a huge return.
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Image credit: Morguefile, photographer: Phaelwick