Working parents with young children need accurate information on how to find affordable, high-quality child care and how to pay for it. This section of the ECE Toolkit offers answers, guidance, and links to resources that can provide additional assistance.
As an employer, there are many steps you can take to be more responsive to the challenges faced by employees with young children. This section of the ECE Toolkit brings together information, resources, and best practices that can help you create an ECE-friendly workplace – including many no-cost and low-cost ideas.
Being an employer who cares about ECE can help you attract and retain employees, as well as reduce the day-to-day costs associated with child care challenges. Making ECE a priority – in your workplace and your community – is also a powerful way to invest in the workforce of tomorrow.
Supporting ECE can help your business thrive and improve your bottom line.
Cultivating a supportive workplace for employees with young children can have a powerful positive impact on recruitment, retention, productivity, and engagement.
ECE and Employee Recruitment
Family-friendly benefits and access to affordable, high-quality child care are top priorities for prospective hires with young children, as well as those who plan start a family in the future. Making ECE a priority and offering benefits that support working parents can differentiate you as an employer.
For insights on the high value many workers place on family-friendly benefits like flexibility and work-from-home options - including a finding that 80% of employees would choose additional benefits over a pay raise - see this post from Harvard Business Review: The Most Desirable Employee Benefits
ECE and Employee RETENTION
The same family-friendly benefits that appeal to prospective employees also matter to current employees. If other employers offer the types of benefits that working parents value and you don't, employees with young children may be tempted to take their skills elsewhere.
A recent survey found that 83% of Millennials would leave their jobs for positions with more family-friendly benefits.
The cost of employee turnover varies greatly depending on industry and type of job, but in its 2018 Retention Report, the Work Institute says that on average, each lost employee costs 33% of their base pay, while qualifying that as a conservative estimate. The direct and indirect costs associated with replacing employees is significant, and there are often hard-to-quantify costs associated with losing a trained, experienced team member.
According to the same Work Institute report, among employees who decide to leave their jobs, 13% cite "work-life balance" as the primary reason for leaving, and 9% cite "well-being" - a category that includes family-related issues. ECE-friendly policies and benefits can address the needs and concerns of working parents and counteract some of the common causes of preventable turnover.
Manny Ocasio, Executive VP, Human Resources for Asbury Communities, Inc., on how the ECE Toolkit is a valuable resource for employees.
ECE and PRODUCTIVITY
Working parents with young children need access to affordable, high-quality child care in order to be reliable, productive employees.
According to a recent report from the Maryland Family Network, among working Maryland parents with children age 5, 49.9% reported a short-term disruption to employment (e.g., a sick child) in the past three months because of issues with child care, and 14.7% reported a long-term disruption (e.g., moving from full-time to part-time work) in the past year because of issues with child care.
When you help working parents access dependable, affordable, high-quality child care, they can be at work on time and focus on doing their jobs without worrying about their children.
Some larger employers have the resources to address this by providing on-site child care or partnering with a local child care provider. However, even the smallest of employers can support parents by providing good information about how to find and pay for high-quality care. And many employers can implement scheduling and leave policies that give parents the flexibility to provide care for their children without sacrificing productivity.
One ECE solution many employers would benefit from is providing or subsidizing emergency back-up care when employees' regular child care arrangements fall through. This can reduce absenteeism and give parents peace of mind so they can focus on work.
ECE AT WORK: WHAT OTHER EMPLOYERS ARE DOING
Emergency Child Care Fund Addresses a Common Challenge for Parents and Employers
The Emergency Child Care Fund is an employee benefit negotiated by SEIU Local 500 and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) that helps supporting services employees deal with an emergency break in their regular child care arrangements.
According to Gallup, businesses in the top quartile of engagement "realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents, and 21% higher profitability. Engaged workers also report better health outcomes."
When parents feel that their employer really cares about ECE, work-life balance, and the well-being of employees' children, they are more likely to be engaged employees.
When employees welcome a new child into their lives, maintaining work-life balance and staying engaged at work can be extra challenging. For insights on how to create a work culture that encourages new mothers and fathers to feel confident, purposeful, and enthusiastic about their jobs, see this Gallup guide: Sustain a Work Culture that Works for New Moms.
To learn more about the business costs associated with child care challenges and why ECE is a smart and necessary investment in the workforce of today and tomorrow, see the ECE Business Case.
Scheduling Flexibility Aids Recruitment and Increases Loyalty
Clear Impact, a performance management company located in Rockville, Maryland, offers scheduling flexibility for its 16 employees, allowing staff to manage their own schedules and work from home when necessary.