Human Resources

Employers Pros and Cons of Offering Childcare in the Workplace



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Offering childcare in the workplace is one perk many employers consider a benefit to offer their employees. Since a large percentage of families nowadays have two income households with both parents working, childcare is a significant issue.

Many of today's employers are recognizing the issue many parents are faced when finding suitable childcare. As a result they have also realized the value of relieving some of the childcare burdens and offer on-premise childcare facilities.

While the benefits of offering childcare in the workplace to employees are apparent, the benefits and drawbacks associated offering childcare in the workplace are more intricate.

Here are a few pros and cons employers should consider before making a determination of whether or not the benefits of making provisions for on-site childcare facilities outweigh the drawbacks.

*Pros of Offering Childcare at Work

>Relieves Burden for Employees

Many employees respond positively to fringe benefits and offering childcare in the workplace is not only a positive move, but a convenient one that relieves burdens both logistically and financially.

Staff who are able to bring children to work and know they are cared for will have an easier time concentrating on work knowing their children are an arms-length away; they can even spend lunch hours with them. They also don't have to travel in the mornings and evenings to daycare facilities, which are not necessarily on the way to the workplace.

Employees who have the ability to stop in and check up on their children during the workday and not feel burdened by the time of commuting are less tired, burdened and as a result often are more motivated and productive.

>Retain Good Employees

Family is going to come first and if parents can easily focus on work because their kids are nearby, good employees will happily give their all to their jobs. Kids will always be a parent's first priority and this attribute is an important one for an employee - parents who are attentive and responsible are likely to have these same traits in the workplace.

Offering childcare in the workplace is a great way to help keep good employees on staff because having the ability to attract employees who hold a strong sense of responsibility and ethic will only benefit the business.

>Lowered Absenteeism

Parents who are near their children during the workplace are likely to have lower absenteeism rates. In addition, parents who have newborns are likely to reduce family leave time if they can be near their new infant and still work; this is also a good incentive for breastfeeding mothers.

*Cons of Offering Childcare at Work

>Expense

While parents are responsible for childcare expenses (although some companies are willing to subsidize this to help make costs affordable), the company bears the burden of construction of a facility, getting the right licenses and approvals and maintenance of operational expenses. Start-up costs are not cheap and this is a significant investment.

Before initiating a project such as a childcare facility on premises, managerial decision makers would benefit from determining whether or not the company can afford to maintain this level of investment and whether or not the investment will reap desired benefits, both financially and productivity wise.

>Logistics

Creating space for a fully operational daycare facility might logistically be an issue. Aside from physical space, the employer will need to meet the requirements of state and local ordinances, health laws and other mandates that apply.

Another consideration are additional facilities to support kitchens, bathroom areas and other needs a childcare facilities has; zoning issues may be involved depending on local regulations.

In addition hiring licensed staff, conducting background checks and other logistics will need to be met before a childcare facility can open.

>Workday Interruption

While parents working so closely near children is often more productive, it can be counterproductive as well. Parents may be too tempted to continuously run down to the facility to see their children or check in repeatedly throughout the day. This could lower productivity.

Whether or not to open an on-site daycare facility has its pros and cons. Before making the offer or commitment, employers should do the research, outline the needs of what needs to be done to make a center happen and then compute whether or not the company can afford to absorb the costs.

In some cases, opening a daycare center will pay off significantly and in other cases it may not be financially or logistically feasible. By weighing and considering the pros and cons, an employer can make an educated decision; one that is best for everyone.

More about this author: Leigh Goessl

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