More and more parents are dropping out of their careers for years at a time so they can take care of their children. As daycare costs rise, it becomes a wash to just quit and stay at home instead of working to pay daycare. To keep great workers around, some companies are embracing the idea of having a company-run daycare as an employee benefit. Here are the pros and cons of childcare in the workplace which must be considered before establishing this type of credit.
The Pros of Childcare in the Workplace
1. Employers don’t lose their best workers.
Childcare is a benefit which is usually utilized by some of the best employees a business has hired. They’ve already invested thousands of dollars into the training of that employee. What’s the cost of an extra benefit which keeps that employee around? And since the daycare is there at work, the employees get to see their kids on their break times, keeping the family unit close as well.
2. It’s a benefit with extra benefits.
Companies must either hire new employees to have the childcare in the workplace implemented or contract with an existing daycare. Either way, more money goes into the local economy, which can then stimulate other areas of benefit. You have more people working, more people earning a fair wage, and the kids get great care. That’s a win/win/win situation.
3. The cost may be deductible as a business expense.
Because a business is providing a direct benefit to the employee, the costs of starting a daycare or contracting with one are often deductible as an expense. This helps to even out the budget at the end of the year and if it is done right, the costs could even become profit neutral if other areas of the business have adjustments as well.
4. It creates a family-first attitude when it comes to the purpose of the business.
By establishing a daycare, an employer is telling their workers and their community that they take the family relationship seriously. Family is always one of the top priorities of people, in good times and in bad financial times, so more good workers will be attracted to the company because of this benefit. The end result is an attractive and friendlier working environment.
The Cons of Childcare in the Workplace
1. Employees may have more than one child in the program.
Childcare in the workplace could be seen as an unequal benefit if an employee has more than one child in the program. Workers may have twins, triplets, or multiple children in a 2-3 year age range which need care. If one worker receives a benefit for three children, but another worker only receives a benefit for one child, then the worker with one child may see the system as being unfair.
2. It opens up a business to new forms of litigation.
If a company starts their own childcare program, then they are directly responsible for the well-being of each child there. Should something unforeseen happen and a child become injured through accident or negligence, the company would potentially be liable for the litigation costs because of those events. Such an event would also likely have the business lose one of their workers, which negates the reason why the benefit was started in the first place.
3. It reduces the separation between a worker’s personal life and their professional life.
Having one’s kids close by when working is a nice luxury to have. It also means there is a big distraction for the worker as well. Instead of focusing on a project which has a tight deadline, a worker might be worried about their child down the hall who said they weren’t feeling so well that morning. Employees might be spending their free time with their kids instead of their co-workers as well, creating social barriers that can impede productivity as well.
4. There are numerous licensing logistics which must be navigated.
Most jurisdictions have specific rules which must be followed by childcare providers. Most centers would require bathrooms, a kitchen, and safety equipment that must be in good working order and open to regular inspection to maintain the daycare license. Specific requirements may need to be included for the protection of the child if the center is at the work site. The time and effort to meet the requirements of these logistics may outweigh the potential benefits which could be received.
These childcare in the workplace pros and cons are a brief overview of the key points to think about before implementing this benefit. It may not be something that works for every business, but it may also be more cost-effective than providing a direct monetary stipend as a benefit for childcare – something many employers are also doing.
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