Access to childcare is a near-perfect example of trickle-up economics, often known as bottom-up economics. When a high-quality, consistent childcare system is in place, economies develop, productivity and performance improve, communities thrive, and children are more likely to become successful adults.
Numerous studies demonstrate how outstanding schools in a community increase value benchmarks such as residential property worth, safety, and general quality of life. Now businesses see that they may lose out on these rewards by not offering quality early school resources for their workforce.
Because of this, employers are considering how investing in childcare support through education technology partnerships yields rewards that keep labor talent stable for today and supply labor talent for years to come.
Child care support offered by employers differentiates their business from competitors by providing work/life solutions for employees and committing to the overall health and safety of that which employees value most, their children and families.
An overwhelming majority of working parents with children under 15 are considering major career changes or leaving the profession completely owing to a lack of daycare. According to Child Care Aware, accessible childcare:
Conventionally, wages and health benefits were considered enough to support employees, but today there is a cultural shift to account for mental health and community support by designing holistic employee benefits packages.
Providing child care assistance to staff is an actionable step that addresses this shift and prevents burnout from ever even occurring.
According to Christina Maslach of the University of California, Berkeley, Susan E. Jackson of Rutgers, and Michael Leiter of Deakin University author of Making a Significant Difference with Burnout Interventions: Researcher and Practitioner Collaboration, “activities and policies that fit the local context are more likely to establish self-perpetuating cycles of actions and responses that maintain constructive change.”
Employers may have reservations regarding the proof or practicality of providing childcare assistance. However, these essential factors will alleviate doubts:
The Lanham Act of 1940 mandated universal child care for mothers of all economic groups. The bill provided funding for war-related initiatives and permitted women to work.
The daycare services achieved a perfect score of 100 percent satisfaction. As adults, children born in high spending states outperformed those born in low-spending states in all labor markets and were more likely to work full-time than those born after the program stopped.
Fast forward to 2009, in Washington, D.C., where an ambitious expansion of free universal child care increased maternal labor force participation among low- and high-income families.
Women with young children experienced a significant increase in employment, which bolstered part-time work for unmarried women and full-time work for married women. While all of these examples directly pertain to universal daycare, any company that immediately addresses the demand for childcare and assistance (particularly for women) within their organization may acquire significant gains in the short and long term.
Childcare programs facilitate the development of strong business-to-business relationships. Childcare programs are typically small, local businesses and often owned by women of color.
Employers can affirm their relational support with diverse local businesses and simplify the communication process for employees as they communicate with smaller, local companies, some of which may be right down the street from their homes or workplaces.
Subsequently, Wonderschool’s tools can transparently measure each business involved's value, which is key to ensuring worthwhile business-to-business partnerships.
Many employers hope to support women employees who make measurable contributions to the workplace's success and environment. Childcare support is one excellent way to turn that spoken commitment into action.
Childcare increases net income and life savings for the maternal labor force. According to the National Women's Law Association: The average lifetime increase in net income for a woman with two children would be about $97,000 (or $94,000 after contributing to private savings), which would correspond to an increase of $20,000 in personal savings by age 64 (counting both contributions—own and employer's—and compound growth).
If a company wishes to distinguish itself, it may want to consider childcare's lasting effect on its maternal labor force. More so, within the maternal labor force are Gen-Z employees who are substantially more likely to change jobs when the work-life balance is askew.
In her recent book My Life In Full, former Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, explains today’s connection between child care and the workforce. "Organized child care will bring more people who left the workforce back to the workforce, and they all tend to be predominantly women. The biggest crisis we have today is the cost of care is too high when it's available, most of the time, it's not available. And even when it is, the quality of the care is not good enough."
Top-performing companies are building a childcare program or voucher into their benefits plan and benefiting from more excellent employee retention; these companies are strengthening their culture and drawing in younger parents who do not want the stress or cost of finding childcare as they choose between other competitive organizations to work for.
Additionally, according to an article by Kylie Ora Lobell for SHRM, employers that supply child care subsidies can take advantage of an annual tax credit of up to $150,000 if they use it for qualified child care facilities and services. According to the IRS, "the credit is 25 percent of the qualified childcare facility expenditures, plus 10 percent of the qualified childcare resource and referral expenditures paid or incurred during the tax year." To receive tax credits, employers must complete Form 8882.
Laura Handrick, an HR consultant in Phoenix, further said flexible spending accounts (FSA) are an option. "The benefit of providing a child care subsidy to employees in the form of an FSA is that the employer contributes pretax dollars, reducing its payroll taxes," she said. "The employee can choose how much or how little to contribute. Those who prefer to send their children to a more expensive program can fund and pay for it through the FSA using pre-tax dollars."
As workplaces reopen physical locations, HR can look for child care facilities in the immediate area through educational technology services. Platforms such as Wonderschool will absorb the cost of energy needed to screen quality, local, licensed programs, and present ranges of tuition affordability.
Creating a brick-and-mortar facility within a company is costly and difficult to scale. It requires oversight and recruitment. Some major companies have tested this model, but they have the funds to back such an endeavor, and even then, it comes with many variables outside of what they are equipped to handle at times.
Wonderschool can simplify the process of supporting your employee’s child care exponentially. Wonderschool connects businesses to childcare by providing tools, product support, consulting, and customer service options for employers, parent employees, and childcare providers.
As a result, companies can shift their focus from how to provide childcare to their employees to why that business is the best choice for working parents and communities. Smaller companies can align their offerings to top businesses (most of which offer childcare services). Larger companies can refine their offerings by leveraging Wonderschool’s technological, flexible, and national network.
Focusing on childcare as a building block to a company's success will create an upward effect of growth for today. And, in the days to follow, companies that support their employees with (streamlined, actionable childcare support) will also see superblocks of employee commitment, trust, and loyalty develop.
Let us help you improve your company's culture and employee retention rate through customizable child care benefits. Learn more here.
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