How Working Families Can Advocate For Childcare at Work
Nearly 60% of all families in the United States have both parents working. This is not a new trend. With the growing cost of living in virtually every state and earnings stagnant, more than half of American families have both parents working. Many of them need to be.
The narrative that families have to work to survive is true, but it’s not the entire picture. Many parents -- women in particular -- want to work. But with childcare at astronomical costs working families are making decisions with the little resources they have. So women are being forced out of the workforce.
As companies slowly welcome people back to the office after the devastating effects of the coronavirus, one question remains. How will families be able to advocate for childcare at work? What options exist for parents who don’t stay home?
Talking with your company about childcare benefits can be a hard conversation. But it’s important to be open and honest about your needs and how meeting them will help you be a better employee. Here are some ways in which you can empower yourself and advocate for better childcare benefits at work.
Employers aren’t necessarily thinking about your childcare needs. They’re busy worrying about meeting their business goals and objectives. And while that’s perfectly fine, it’s up to you to bring honest information to them.
If there are other parents on staff that feel similar to you, ask them to join in on the child care advocacy. More voices are more impactful.
Start an open and honest conversation with your employer. Let them know exactly how the lack of child care support is hurting you as an individual and as an employee. This could be a lack of understanding from management when childcare options fall through. Or it could be the high-cost burden of care for younger children. Whatever the issues are, gather honest feedback from you and your team to bring to the conversation.
Highlight Their Missed Opportunity
Imagine a world where parents didn’t have to worry about childcare every day we worked? Imagine knowing that the company you work for supports you both as a parent and as a person outside of your employment? There is extreme value in that for the employer. Satisfied employees are better retained. They stay with companies longer because they feel valued as a person, not as a commodity helping a company achieve something.
While this can increase employee retention, it can also increase employee mental health. And people who have fewer stressors in their life perform better. If there are opportunities that could arise from better child care support, help your HR team visualize that. Will it offer parents on staff more focused time? Will it actually be less money out of the company’s pocket to offer child care subsidies?
See how childcare benefits can help you and your team grow and translate that into actionable solutions your employer will understand.
While employee retention and mental health are promising ways to tell the story, bringing concrete solutions will help your management team see how they can make changes for the better of their workforce. Here are some options you can bring to the table when advocating for childcare support at work.
Childcare subsidies paid partially or in full can help immensely. This can take some of the burdens off of parents when paying the high costs of early childcare. There’s also a benefit for the employer. Companies that offer child care subsidies can receive up to $150,000 in annual tax credits.
Helpr can pay childcare facilities and babysitters directly through their app. They also have a babysitter directory for when childcare falls through and parents need support fast.
Offer Personal Time Off (that isn’t vacation time)
Another option for employers is to offer personal time off for staff. If a childcare facility or school is closed then parents can take off without worrying about their vacation time being expended. This can also translate into personal time for childless employees who need time off for doctor’s appointments, elderly care, and other personal issues.
Another option would be to offer childcare onsite for your employees. If your employer has deep resources and a high annual budget, then you may be able to petition for onsite childcare options. There are different, more lenient liability laws when parents and children are both onsite, which would release some of the burden from employers starting a childcare facility at the office.