Accommodating Working Parents (And Everyone Else)

Child care can be a problem for working parents year round, but the summer months can be exceptionally difficult. That 6–8 hours a day that school preoccupied is now left wide open and parents are faced with the challenge of “what now?” Although there are many options for working parents, such as summer camp, an employer could take it upon themselves to alleviate some of the struggle.

A 2014 study showed that parenthood may actual make a worker more productive, when the parent is able to easily juggle work and family. When an employer makes the child care situation easier they not only create more productive workers, but more loyal ones as well. According to Care@Work, nearly 70% of employees say the cost of child care influences their career decisions.

So what are some things employers can do to make the burden of child care easier on their employees?

1. Onsite Child Care Centers - Not all businesses have the space or funds to offer this sort of option, but for those that can, an onsite child care center is a very convenient option for working parents.

2. Dependent Care Assistance Programs (DCAPs)- DCAPs allow employees to deduct child care expenses from their paycheck, pre-taxes, helping to alleviate some of the cost. Employers would have to pay a small processing fee, but this fee could result in an appealing perk to attracting and retaining employees.

3. Child Care Subsidies - Like DCAPs, child care subsidies could really help a parent manage the cost of child care. Employers could also consider partnering with local day care centers in order to offer a discount to employees.

4. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) - Also like DCAPs, a flexible spending account could allow parents to set aside pre-tax pay to cover the cost of day care expenses, including before and after-school programs and summer camps.

Certain benefits that businesses may offer to working parents can alienate employees without children. To be sure that all employees feel equal and that they have access to same sort of benefits, there are certain things employers can offer that not only benefit working parents, but all employees.

1. Flexibility - Offering a flexible schedule to all employees could increase worker satisfaction and retention. Allowing employees the option to work from home, if the job commits, certain days, offering a 4 days a week 10 hour a day work week option, or the flexibility of coming in earlier or later to meet outside needs, can help employees manage a good work-life balance.

2. Wellness Programs - Healthy employees equals less sick days. By offering a wellness program whether it be a gym membership, options for fitness classes or stress reduction classes, some sort of wellness program can be a great benefit to all employees.

3. In Office Services - It’s not only parents who struggle to find time to get everything done. Offering certain services, such as dry cleaning or car washing at the office, can help all employees alleviate some of the stress from their outside responsibilities.

4. Entertainment - Many working professionals struggle to find time to relax. Offering complimentary tickets to local events or movies, not only offer a budget safe option for people to relax and have fun, but can also make employees feel appreciated for their hard work.

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