By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
Only 6 percent of companies in the U.S. offer any child care benefits according to a new survey by Clutch. This is despite the fact that the average annual cost of daycare for one infant or toddler is $11,666 and can soar much higher depending on where the family lives.
Combined with the country's lack of paid parental leave, becoming a parent can be a huge financial hardship for employees. A lack of affordable child care can cause employees to perform worse at their jobs, cut their hours, or even leave the workforce altogether — issues that disproportionalty affect women.
Businesses may think that child care benefits are too expensive to even consider. However, there are a number of helpful options that vary in cost. These include:
- Offering child care subsidies;
- Offering on-site child care;
- Allowing flexible employee schedules;
- Instituting predictable employee schedules;
- Offering back-up child care assistance; and
- Offering flexible child care spending accounts.
Options such as on-site child care or child care subsidies can be moderately to very expensive to implement but can drastically reduce employee turnover while raising morale. Meanwhile, implementing predictable and flexible schedules can be an easier and cheaper way to begin helping parents.
Businesses offering child care benefits can reap the rewards of reduced turnover and increased productivity and engagement. For example, outdoor retailer Patagonia offers comprehensive child care benefits including onsite daycare and has seen 100% retentio nof its working mothers. In comparison, an estimated 20-35 percent of working mothers usually leave the workforce.
A fair chance to advance. Nearly 6 in 10 male employees (59 percent) believe everyone has a fair chance to advance at their company, compared to 43 percent of female employees. Women often face the burden of child care responsibilities, which can negatively impact their careers and earning potential.
Even when child care benefits are offered, women are 4x more likely to be dissatisfied with the options than men. More than 1 in 10 women (13 percent) are dissatisfied with their company's child care benefits, compared to only 3 percent of men.
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