New parents and parents with more than one child have similar concerns about putting their child in daycare. It's expensive! The cost of daycare can make it challenging to manage your finances and cause a financial strain on your budget. Some families find it cheaper if only one spouse works while the other stays home to take care of the children until they can find a way to afford daycare. But what if you don't want to quit your job? What are some things employers can do to help mitigate significant childcare expenses and keep employees employed? From helping employees claim dependent care credits to providing a stipend, here are seven ways that your employer may be able to help.
Finding Help To Pay for Childcare
Help Employees Claim Dependent Care Credits
Employers can administer this program by allowing employees to elect pre-tax deductions to be taken out of their paychecks and put into a Dependent Care Account (DCA). Electing deductions using a DCA can reduce the employee's overall tax bracket due to decreased gross income. Another benefit, known as the Child and Dependent Care Credit, occurs during tax season for employees that elect the DCA and have eligible child care expenses during the previous year.
"To qualify, the childcare provider must be a certified child care center, a licensed family child care home, or a provider who meets state requirements and is registered with the state. The Child and Dependent Care Credit is available to employees who meet certain requirements and have earned income. Employers can help their employees by providing information about this credit and how to claim it." - Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Rephrasely
Run an Office Daycare
Employers should run an office daycare as a work perk. This removes the cost of daycare and allows employees to not worry about the expense. Employees can bring their child to the office daycare and visit them during lunchtime with no hassle, then pick them up at the end of the day. This ultimately results in workers feeling appreciated, and it finds a solution to an ongoing issue.
- Natália Sadowski, Director of Aesthetics, Nourishing Biologicals
Offer a Discount
Offer a discount with a local daycare. This lessens the expenses and creates a convenient experience for the employee. Employees can drop their children off at daycare before work and pick them up at the end of the workday. These costs add up, so employers who can acknowledge this and find a solution will create a happier employee at the end of the day.
- Jodi Neuhauser, CEO, Ovaterra
Increase Childcare Subsidies
An excellent way to keep employees happy is to increase childcare subsidies. Offering childcare as a benefit may currently offer different corporate tax benefits than providing health care. Still, when contrasted with the expense of recruiting and onboarding new employees, the investment in keeping parents in the workforce by giving childcare is worthwhile. Furthermore, you can design the benefits so that employers contribute to a fund that employees can use for any caregiving, such as for a child, spouse, or senior family member. The caregiver benefit is like healthcare since it allows us to collectively ensure that we can satisfy the requirements of loved ones rather than relying just on women's unpaid care or individual savings.
- Tiffany Homan, COO, Texas Divorce Laws
Propose Flexible Working Hours
Some employers allow a flexible schedule so parents can tend to their young children throughout their workday. For example, a parent might work a few hours in the morning when a nanny comes in, and then they take a break from work until their partner gets home to watch their child.
In the evening, they can return to their computer and finish projects. Many businesses no longer count hours worked or logged in and are happy if all tasks are completed on time and accurately.
- Susan Shaffer, President, Pneuma Nitric Oxide
Give Them Access to Tools Which Support Childcare
Employers often focus on the immediate return to work period for working parents rather than viewing the entire journey they have embarked on. Employers can support parents with childcare by giving them access to tools that actively help them find and secure childcare, which not only helps their family survive but thrive. This might be through companies set up to connect parents with childcare services in the area or by providing paid access to tools, so they can easily communicate with other caregivers without adding extra stress to their day. Ultimately, it's about taking the financial and mental burden off employees; don't just point them toward available support; engage with that support on their behalf and provide immediate access through your organization.
- Jessica Higham, Marketing Manager, Onoco
Provide a Stipend
Employers can provide subsidies or stipends to help their staff offset the expensive cost of childcare, which can significantly help. This stipend is so important because the cost of childcare can often be a deciding factor for whether someone can continue working, which means this investment can keep your best people with you for the long term.
- Grace He, People & Culture Director, teambuilding.com
For employers to maintain a present workforce, they must find various ways of supporting employees and their families. Providing family Fridays, flexible working hours, Dependent Care Accounts, or on-site daycare can encourage employees to show up to work and be fully present. The absence of employer consideration can lead to a less-than-present workforce and higher-than-normal turnover. This can be costly to employers, more costly than providing a much-needed resource to employees.