How to Make Childcare Costs Less Stressful for Employees

People go through many transitions during their lives. In earlier times workers often lived near extended family members who could provide support during times of change. According to Pew Research, in the 21st century over 60 per cent of people have moved away from their hometowns, many to find jobs. Now when people have to make decisions or need support for life events, they often look to their employers for help.

 

Early stage – raising a family

 

In the early stages of an employee’s career, personal decision-making often centers on children. Family planning is an important consideration. Employer-subsidized insurance often plays a key role in covering childbirth or adoption expenses.

 

Although some amount of maternity, paternity, or adoption leave is mandated by local, state, or federal requirements, including the Family and Medical Leave Act, companies must make decisions about how they will manage paid or unpaid time off for new parents. They also need to deal with fairness in the workplace, creative temporary staffing of the job, and ensuring availability of an equitable position upon the employee’s return to work. It’s important to comply with any relevant laws and maintain good employee relations while also managing program costs and considering the organization’s bottom line.

 

Childcare is a daily need for many employees. Inadequate care can cause a great deal of stress for a worker and lead to inefficiency at work or frequent lost hours of work to leave for emergencies or simply children’s medical or other activities. Some employers choose to provide an on-site childcare facility. This offers parents a convenient and affordable care option, especially helpful for mothers of new babies, who can slip away to nurse and bond with their young children.

 

When an on-site facility is not practical, organizations may help employees in other ways. Some companies offer a childcare subsidy.  A US News and World Report study showed that childcare for a single child ranged from  $344 in rural South Carolina to $1,472 in the District of Columbia. In many states, average childcare costs are higher than college tuition. This expense eats up a significant chunk of a worker’s pay. An employer-provided childcare subsidy can provide the motivation to come to work rather than stay home and save the money on childcare expenses.

 

Companies can also help employees look for state or federal financial support related to children. Lower-income families may qualify for government childcare subsidies or a portion of the earned income tax credit. The child and dependent care tax credit is available as income rises. Support for navigating the somewhat complex process of adoption benefits can help to maximize the employee’s financial outcome. The organization’s HR team or outside consultant may help employees walk through the process of determining eligibility and receiving these various benefits related to childcare.

 

An employee assistance plan can enhance the benefits system you already have so that your employees can operate at top performance. Click here to learn more about how employee assistance plans can boost your bottom line. Contact AFC Management Services to view our case studies and learn more about the services we offer in areas of personal and family needs, eldercare, educational support, fitness and wellness, and many others. Your employees and your bottom line can benefit from your action.

 

Would you like to learn more about how an employee assistance plan can improve your organizations bottom line? Give us a call and see how we can help at 866-659-3400 ext. 7 or e-mail Fran Bishop at franb@afmsco.com.

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