When it comes to benefits to offer your employees, there are a lot of options — health care and dental plans, a company-sponsored 401(k) and vacation time. However, there is one benefit that is highly sought after but often overlooked — childcare assistance.
The cost of childcare is increasing dramatically, and more parents are considering taking a leave from their careers to raise their children. In fact, approximately one-third of women leave the workforce yearly, with 74% of them citing childcare as the reason.
If you have women on your staff who plan to have children in the future, they may decide to leave your organization unless you offer some type of childcare assistance.
Childcare reigns supreme among sought-after benefits, with four in five parents saying that organizations should provide access to quality childcare. Currently, the average American couple with children spends up to 26% of their income on childcare, and that figure doubles for single parents.
Companies can improve their reputation — and attract workers who currently have children or plan to have them in the future — by offering childcare assistance.
You Have Multiple Childcare Assistance Options Available
As a small business owner, you are not able to afford an onsite childcare center, like Google or Goldman Sachs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help in other ways.
1. Offer a Childcare Stipend
Costs for childcare vary depending on your location. For instance, in Arizona, childcare for an infant averages approximately $912 per month, while in Mississippi, childcare expenses average $453 monthly.
The child’s age will also impact the cost; infants require more care, so fees are usually higher, while an older child who only needs after-school care won’t be nearly as expensive.
Even if you can’t pay for your employee’s childcare needs outright, you can consider offering them a stipend. For instance, an extra $250 monthly would probably be quite beneficial to a working parent. That’s a small price to pay for employee retention.
2. Partner with Local Childcare Centers for Discounts
Some childcare centers are happy to offer discounts to employers who direct new clients their way. You could sweeten the deal by offering them a discount on your company’s products or services.
For instance, if you operate a restaurant, you could offer the childcare center and its employees an ongoing 10% discount every time they dine with you in exchange for a 10% discount on their monthly childcare services.
Check your local area to find childcare providers interested in a partnership. There are likely several nearby childcare centers close to your organization. You can also ask qualified providers who offer childcare services in their homes.
3. Provide a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account
A dependent care flexible spending account allows employees to withhold up to $5,000 of their pay tax-free for childcare. They can use the money they place in their account toward childcare needs for kids up to 13.
Incorporating a dependent care flexible spending account into your benefits offerings is very simple and comes at little cost to your organization. Your employees will appreciate being able to pay for a significant portion of their childcare costs with pre-tax funds.
Your Employees Will Appreciate Your Assistance
Childcare can take up a significant portion of an employee’s income — so much so that it can be hard to afford other needs, like rent and groceries.
While you may not be able to pay for the total cost of their child’s care, you can help offset some of the cost burden or establish a partnership with local childcare providers in your area willing to discount their services.
Even a little can go a long way toward improving employee satisfaction. When your employees know that you understand their childcare needs and are willing to provide some benefits to support them, they’re more likely to stick around for the long term. Longer retention and greater job satisfaction will help you reduce employee turnover costs and boost overall morale.
Childcare Assistance Supports Your Employees
Providing childcare assistance helps you stand out from competitor organizations that don’t offer similar benefits. You’ll likely see more applications for your available roles, allowing you to attract top-tier talent to support your company.
Your workers are crucial to the success of your organization, and you want to ensure they’re happy working for you. Offering childcare support shows you value your workers — and their families.
Are you in need of qualified HR consulting services to support your organization? Contact Focus HR to schedule an appointment with our team.