Back to School: How to Solve Child Care Problems and Become an HR Hero

As the kids head back to the classroom after summer break, your employee childcare concerns completely disappear, right? Not quite. It’s a common mistake for employers to assume that the child care challenges facing working families go away when kids go back to school.

There are many ways that human resources and benefits professionals can support parents and guardians in their workforce by exploring, extending, and expanding employee child care benefits At the top of the list.

can you help solve Child care issues of working families during the stressful back-to-school season. Benefits decisions can have a direct impact on your employees’ lives outside of the workplace, which is huge!

New parents struggling to find a viable and affordable child care solution for their children? Friends or colleagues leaving the workforce entirely due to lack of childcare? Many need access to child care benefit programs throughout the year, but especially during the back-to-school season.

Go ahead, be someone’s HR hero.

Back-to-School Childcare Considerations for Employers
We know that there are countless tasks, priorities, and projects on your plate at any given time, and there are only so many hours in the day. However, having a happy and successful workforce relies on employing happy and productive employees, including working parents.

For many people, child care is still considered a concern for families with babies up to five years of age, but in reality it is not. Child care is also often necessary for older children, especially in the age range of six to 12 years.

What do parents do with older children when the school day ends in the middle of their workday? The short answer? They have to find out. The pandemic showed us that schools act as critical infrastructure (and often serve as structured childcare, in a sense), but that’s not the whole story. It also revealed how crucial finding quality, affordable child care is for both families and the economy to thrive.

Read more: How reverse mentoring is building the workforce of the future

After school care programs are one answer that many working families turn to, however, they are not always available at all schools. and if they are offered, these in-demand programs tend to fill up fast and have limited staff. They’re a great option if you can afford the cost, you really do get a spot, and you can pick up your kid around 5 pm, but they’re out of reach for most American families.

How much do your employees pay to put their children in after school care? It varies widely, but the national average cost for aftercare in public schools is $100 to $500 or more per month, per child. This adds up! It also represents a serious financial burden for many working families, especially those with multiple children.

Trying to manage a school schedule that is perpetually out of alignment with a typical work schedule is a reality faced by most parents and guardians. Parents are well aware that school ends quite early, often between 2:15 pm and 3:30 pm.

This chronic misalignment causes parents to mix childcare solutions during the hours before they can pick up their children. What happens when child care hours are not flexible? Families must find more expensive child care options that fit this schedule, or reduce their work hours. Working parents bear the brunt of this stress and their work performance suffers as they lose 5% of their work week.

Traditional child care centers are complicated in terms of flexibility and are not likely to be the answer to after school child care problems. Unlike nannies, nannies, and many in-home daycare centers, traditional child care centers are often located farther from home or work, making them less convenient for busy working parents.

Another factor limiting the effectiveness of traditional on-site child care is that many more parents are now working remotely. If you have a remote, hybrid, or geographically distributed workforce, on-site childcare simply isn’t going to be a practical option for them.

Employers that do not prioritize childcare are at a disadvantage
By now, many employers know that not offering employer-sponsored child care benefits actually severely affects an organization’s bottom line. But how?

Having children is a unique responsibility. There are always unpredictable events and emergency situations. When working parents and guardians don’t have access to child care benefits, especially options like backup care, they lose more work.

Read more:Not just ‘breadwinners’: why companies should support working parents as caregivers

How surprised would you be if I told you that employees with children are more likely to be less focused at work? Not exactly surprised, right? With constant childcare responsibilities to think about, working parents have a lot on their minds. It’s understandable that they sometimes get distracted, which hurts their productivity.

In situations where working families cannot find quality, affordable child care, some parents are forced to leave their jobs to care for their children. This creates retention and hiring challenges for employers, not to mention all the institutional knowledge that is lost when an employee leaves.

What happens when you become the HR Child Care Hero?
If not offering child care benefits has significant drawbacks, what about employers who prioritize this type of support for their employees?

When organizations offer comprehensive care benefits, including child care programs as a benefit, prospective employees are excited to join their workforce. Hiring suddenly becomes easier.

Working parents with child care benefits will appear more consistently. When an employee misses time at work due to childcare issues, their workload often falls on their colleagues or a manager. Employees supported by child care benefits produce better work and stay with their employers for a longer period of time, keeping talent in-house and alleviating employee retention burdens on Human Resources.

Working families that feel supported by their employers are more likely to prosper, and children’s learning and growth are reflected in their parents’ career paths. All this benefits the employee, his organization and society in general, with more nurtured and productive citizens.

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To competitively recruit and retain top talent across your organization, you need to clearly show that you’re offering employee child care benefits to your workforce. Highlight your attention benefits offers on your website and in every job posting you list for open positions. This way, candidates seeking employer-sponsored child care benefits will choose you over your competitors.

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