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Information on Child Care Options Available to Employees

Providing Information

Options

Resource and Referral Services
  • Provide employees information and counseling about available child care arrangements. This service includes education for parents about what constitutes quality programs and subsidies available for lower income families
Parenting or Child Care Seminars
  • Inform working parents about available child care resources and parenting supports. Local R&R’s can be invited to make presentation to your employees. Information can also be disseminated through bulletin boards, newsletters, or library

Benefits

  • Low cost
  • Assists employees with a variety of child care needs
  • Can improve quality of care by supporting provider education
  • Appropriate for any size company
  • Can be provided in a variety of locations
  • Provides a good interim step while companies decide what other programs to support
  • Can link with R&R agencies that have expertise and knowledge

Considerations

  • Depends on ample child care services in the community
  • Offers no assistance in paying for dependent care

Providing Financial Assistance to Employees

Options

Dependent Care Spending Assistance Plan (DCAP): Money is set aside from an employee’s gross salary into a nontaxable spending account to pay for child care. Neither the employer nor the employee pays taxes on the amount of salary reduced for child care. The employee is able to pay for child care expenses with tax-free dollars.

Flexible Benefit Plans: Also called a “cafeteria plan,” these plans allow employers to offer a range of benefits. Employees choose from a menu of benefits and customize their benefits package. For example, some employees may have health insurance provided by a spouse’s employer and may choose a child care benefit instead.

Child Care Vouchers or Reimbursements: An employer offers workers a child care allowance or subsidy that families can use toward a child care arrangement of their choice. The contribution can be a percentage, flat rate, or based on a sliding scale.

Child Care Vendor Plan: An employer or group of employers contracts with a local child care program to reserve slots for company employees. The employers pay a portion of the employee’s child care costs directly to a child care program.

Advantages

  • Most options require
  • little administrative responsibility
  • Can support and strengthen community services
  • Appropriate for any size company
  • Does not require capital investment or start up costs

Considerations

  • Some options can be costly
  • Only impact the cost of care; not a solution for low supply or poor quality

Creating and Supporting Child Care Services

Options

On-site or Near-site care: An employer develops a new child care center or employers subsidize the construction and/or operating costs of the center, and it is run by an outside provider

Partnering with Other Employers: A group of geographically close companies share the expenses of operating a center

Family Child Care Network: Companies can form or fund networks of homes to provide child care for their employees. Suited for odd hours businesses

Back-Up or Emergency Care: Employers provide choices for short-term care of employees’ children when normal care arrangements fall through

Sick Child Care: Employers provide in-home or center-based care for children who are mildly ill or recovering from a health problem

Odd Hour Care: Employers provide in-home or center-based care for children during non-traditional hours, such as a late shift or on weekends

Before/After School Programs: Employers provide supervised activities for school age children, before and after school, vacations, and holidays

Summer Camp and School Holiday Care: Employers offer or sponsor programs on-site or in the local community to provide care for children during summer vacation, or vacation days.

Advantages

  • Can address specific needs and/or shortages, such as after school
  • care or back-up care
  • Builds community resources for families
  • Can be very effective recruitment tool
  • Cuts absenteeism and tardiness caused by unreliable child care arrangements
  • Can adapt hours and programs to employee needs

Considerations

  • Start up costs can be significant
  • Requires long-term financial commitment
  • Demand may fluctuate or be difficult to predict
  • May take time to build stable enrollment

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