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Child Care'S Role For Today'S Employer'S

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Child Care's Role for Today's Employer's

The challenge of today's market place

The race to attract and retain quality people in today's business world has gone from offering the highest salary to the best benefits. Many of today's best companies are getting and retaining the best people with the lure of employment benefits not by paying the highest salaries. These benefits include items like stock options, expense accounts, dental and health care, flexible hours, and child care. Many of the best people are taking lower wages to get better employee benefits. One of the largest movements is the need for family attractive benefits. More people are looking for companies that are family oriented and providing benefits that are geared towards family needs. This is not just providing good health care but, also child care incentives. The increasing trend of working mothers is more and more common in the market today then ever before. The steady increase of dual income households has lead to the need for quality child care. This need has 60 percent of mothers today returning to work within one year of having a child compared to 40 percent twenty years ago (Kiger 2004). This same environment has raised concern in several areas like finding quality child care, employee absenteeism and productivity, and rise in salary needs. With the challenge of getting and keeping quality people the target of most companies why are they not using this disparity to help meet their needs? The large cost of offering child care as a benefit to employees is one of the biggest myths that companies must understand. Many people only look at the bottom line when it comes to viewing the quarterly report. Researching the need and benefit of company supported child care is one area that a business can vault itself into a large profit income from average profit income. The target of many companies is to increase profit and most do this by cutting cost. Although, this can prove to be profitable sometimes it is better to increase productivity to gain better profits. Companies can do both if they are willing to invest in the employee's needs. One of the biggest is the dual-career families' need for quality child care. This need has lead to the increase of businesses that offer on site child care or supplement income for child care. "In 1982, approximately 600 employers provided some type of child care assistance. By 1990, that number had increased to over 5000 and represented 13% of all employers with more than 100 employees" (Oekerman 1997). This need has led to more and more business offering different forms of child care benefits but even more can be done and investing in child care if done right can yield huge profits for any company.

Child Care for Working Parents

The need for child care has grown over the past 30 years. Although large numbers of women started entering the work force during the 60's and 70's many were still willing to drop out of the work force until all kids were back in school (Schacht 1993). The number of women with children working is up to 60 percent which has created a large demand for day care for children under age six. This need has not only created a new business economy but, also changed the way dual-career families evaluate companies that the work for and the benefits that each offers. The government has also taken noticed of the market need for quality child care. The other issue for many working parents is the increasing cost of child care. It can cost more for child care per year than it does to send them to college. If a parent wishes to return to work after having children it can eat up a large portion of their income and this leaves them with the choose of returning to work for no real increase in overall income or stay home and care for children themselves. Although there are always cheaper forms of care not many wish to trade the cost for the quality of care. The cost and lack of quality child care has led to many working parent to finding jobs with companies that offer flexible work schedule or working from home as alternatives to paying for care. Gurrea Debary Coody came up with a more personal approach to this dilemma when partner Tess Coody gave birth to her first child in 1996 and several other employees had children. The need and wish of the partners was to create a family friendly work environment at work in which employees can take breaks and spend time with their children daily. The result is quality care that cost a fraction of the same care available in the area (Heintz 2004).

Benefits for the Employer

Employers searching for quality individuals in today's market can use the need for child care to their advantage to gain the interest of potential employees and retain current employees. Companies are looking for new ways to improve productivity and increase profits for the company. Many businesses are so preoccupied trying to keep up to date with the advancements in technology that they forget to look at reinvesting in old ways to help the companies' bottom line. Although, onsite child care centers are not a one size fits all, there are huge tax incentives for investing in this type of employee benefit. Twenty-eight states, of which Florida will match a companies investment, and the federal government offer tax breaks to write off as much as fifty percent of building and operating a child care center (Kiger 2004). This type of incentive can not only help profits it can help increase productivity. Oekerman (1997) showed that by assisting parents with child care companies got a return in less-on-the job stress resulting in better employee health, stability in the work force, lower absenteeism and tardiness, shorter maternity leave, and improved morale and work performance. How can spending money on this type of facility help profits and productivity is not as easy to see as it sounds but in a study by Union Bank found that there was less absenteeism and a 2.2 percent turnover rate for parents using the company-sponsored center compared to more absenteeism and a 9.5 percent turnover rate for those not using the center (Conrad 1995). More and more studies are finding that by reducing turnover business can save large amounts of money in the training and development of new employees because of the ability to retain current employees. Many parents feel the need to be close to their children in the event of an emergency and on-site centers allow this to take place so many parents will return to work sooner and be more productive than in off-site child care.

Recruitment and Retention using child care

Recruitment The



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