The consensus among researchers, child care experts and working parents is that there are inadequate child care arrangements for working parents. This problem is even worse for single parents who do not have a spouse to look after the children in emergency situations. Child care problems can be detrimental to employers. Employees are less productive when they have to deal with child care issues. They use a significant Housekeeper amount of company time making inquiries about possible child care providers or checking up on a sick child. Child care issues can also cause a person to be tardy or even miss several days of work. Studies indicate that one out of every three sick days taken by a working parent is due to an illness that causes a child to stay home from school. If you bring your child with you to work because your child care arrangements did not work out, then you may have to divide your attention between your work and child. Your coworkers may also find your child a distraction. Also, child care problems may cause a business to lose valuable employees because child care may be too expensive and too much of a hassle.
For the reasons mentioned above, businesses should develop suitable child care arrangements for their employees. This will increase employee productivity, help retain employees who otherwise would go to another company with the proper child care arrangements and help recruit potential employees. Businesses will find that these child care arrangements will save more money than any other employee benefit. These child care programs are also not that expensive since they are tax-deductible to businesses.
There are several child care assistance options that are available for businesses including on-site facilities, consortiums, salary reduction plans, reimbursement plans and outside referral agencies.
Of all of the options available, employees would most prefer an on-site child care facility because it will allow employees to visit their children during lunch breaks and they can avoid the complications of having to drop-off and pick-up their children at off-site facilities. An on-site child care facility can also be used to attract potential employees. However, this is also the most expensive child care assistance option. This is the reason why you will not see this type of facility at smaller businesses with limited resources. It requires significant up-front costs. Some states have certain qualifications that need to be met before a child care facility worker can be hired. This may require you to hire new personnel to work in the facility. The business may also have to pay more money for utilities and liability insurance. But the expense of an on-site child care facility can be deducted from your taxes.
A consortium is a very popular child care assistance option among small businesses with limited assets. A consortium is made up of several small businesses that combine their resources to pay for an off-site child care facility. Each business is only required to pay for a certain number of openings that they make available to their employees. If there are any unused openings, they can be made available to people who work for businesses that are not a part of the consortium.
A salary reduction plan allows employees to put a specified amount of their pre-tax income into a flexible spending account that is used to reimburse them for their child care expenses. A reimbursement plan requires that tax-deductible payments either be paid to the child care facility or to the employees by the business.