Ask any working parent, and they’ll tell you the struggle to find affordable, quality childcare has been a problem for years. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, the problem worsened. Schools and childcare centers closed down, and working parents had more on their plates than they could handle.
With 89 percent of employers searching for solutions to childcare for frontline workers such as restaurant or healthcare employees, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation created a comprehensive guide for them to explore childcare benefit options. The guide cites that 16 percent of employers have seen employees leave for childcare reasons, and one in five parents is unsure if they’ll return to their pre-COVID work situation. Those turnover costs can add up.
The U.S. Chamber Foundation briefing includes concrete steps to improve employee retention and satisfaction with policies that support working parents. Options include:
The Short Term
- Working Parent Support – raising awareness of and expanding existing resources
- Flexible Scheduling – allowing flexible work days and hours to accommodate childcare needs
The Long Term
- Backup Care – offering backup options for those times that childcare falls through, preventing absenteeism and lost productivity
- Subsidies and Vouchers – providing financial assistance to quality childcare
- Onsite Care – giving employers the chance to operate their own facility or partner with external childcare providers
The Industry Changers
- Public Advocacy – Addressing the need for access to affordable, quality childcare at the local, state, and/or federal levels
- Expand Community Capacity – donating shared services (staff time, products, financial support, etc.) to help childcare providers deliver quality care
The guide also provides common combinations of benefits, possible community partners, and how to get started with implementation, communication, and creating feedback loops to continuously incorporate working parent feedback.
And, of course, Family Forward NC has a comprehensive Guide to Family Forward Workplaces with tools and tips for employers of all sizes to implement 16 family-friendly workplace practices.