In today’s competitive job market, hiring employees who will stay long-term is a difficult endeavor. Many business owners may think that the only solution to this problem is giving employees a raise. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, something as simple as employee benefits or perks does just as well. And while one may not consider childcare as an important point in employee benefits early on in their career, they’re more likely to see the need for it as their career progresses and workload starts to pile up.
This not only helps their children get the care they need when they’re at the office, but it also gives working parents peace of mind knowing that their children are being cared for. And with the number of working parents rising, along with the difficulty of balancing childcare and work during a pandemic, childcare is now among the key points that people consider when it comes to employee benefits.
Whether you’re a small business owner considering what employee benefits to add to a salary package or a company executive looking to incorporate childcare into your employee benefits program, here are a few things you can offer your employees that would greatly benefit working parents.
Flexible Work Options
As work environments continue to evolve, there are now a significant number of jobs that employees can work on remotely. This gives working parents who like to be hands-on with their children the opportunity to work while taking care of them. Consider giving employees flexible work schedules, such as allowing them to shift between part-time and full-time working schedules depending on the child’s needs.
For instance, younger children may need more care from parents during the school year, especially when most, if not all, students are learning remotely. In this case, employers can offer shorter working hours during the weekdays in exchange for longer work hours on the weekend or in the summer.
If this isn’t possible, you may also offer predictable working hours so parents can schedule childcare accordingly.
Gradual Return to Work after Parental Leaves
Having a baby, especially a newborn, is a stressful period in any parent’s life for various reasons. Not only are their budgets affected, but so are their sleep schedules and other aspects of their lives. With this in mind, you must show your employees you care by being considerate of their situation as they start to adjust to life with a new baby.
Instead of having them come into work right after their leave ends, you can consider two options: have them work remotely until they’re ready to go back to the office without worrying about childcare costs or provide a ramp-up period by asking them to come in two or three days a week. By doing this, your employees can eventually return to the office well-rested and prepared to get back to work.
Reimbursed Childcare Costs
If your business has the budget for it, consider looking at options to have an on-site childcare service in the office. It’s important to note that when employers show concern for their employees and lend a helping hand to childcare, employees tend to stick around for longer.
If you’re looking to add an on-site childcare facility at or near your office, here are a few options you can consider:
- Getting a third-party childcare service provider
- Operating your own in-house childcare facility by hiring an appropriate team
- Offering complimentary childcare services in partnership with a trusted provider
Day Care Stipends
Providing on-site childcare to working parents may be difficult if you’re running a small business. Not only do you need to deal with the logistics of having to manage an on-site daycare program, but it can also be costly. However, with working employees needing to balance taking care of their children while fulfilling their tasks at work, even something as simple as a small monthly contribution towards childcare can significantly help your employees cut down their childcare or daycare costs.
When unexpected events happen, such as parents getting sick and schools closing, among other issues, having backup childcare serves as a safety net for working parents. This is especially important in the case of a divorce of your employee with his or her spouse, when the child may be left in your employee’s care. Aside from needing an attorney for a child support case, working parents may also need a way to take care of their children while dealing with legal proceedings and work. Compared to daycare stipends or on-site childcare, backup childcare is just as effective but more cost-efficient.
In this case, you can consider partnering up with trusted service providers who can offer childcare either at the affected employee’s home or at your partner provider’s establishment.
Offer Online Learning Assistance
At a time when people continue to stay at home, more kids are learning remotely. With this in mind, you can consider providing your employees’ children with caregivers or tutors that can assist with the current remote learning environment.
If working parents make up a large portion of your workforce, childcare benefits are essential in increasing the chances of employees staying with your business longer and allowing them to enjoy a sustainable work-life balance. However, it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all childcare plan for all businesses. Before you implement them into your employee benefits scheme, make sure to consider the needs of your employees and their children.