A few weeks ago we talked about the importance of offering elder care benefits. On the other end of the spectrum? Child care – a topic that is getting more and more attention thanks to the growing number of women who hold political office. That’s the good news. The bad news? Just 9 percent of employers offer it, even though child care access issues are responsible for $8.3 billion annually in lost wages (missed work), according to the Center for American Progress.
In addition to female politicians demanding it, so too are millennials who become parents. And to throw another wrinkle into the equation? Women are having children later in life, which means their absence due to child care emergencies will result in missed work by more senior employees.
Why do so few employers offer this critical benefit? Cost. Child care costs, like college costs, have risen dramatically in the past few decades. Employers also don’t offer the benefit because historically, many companies never have. Men made up the majority of the workforce and women stayed at home to care for children, so it was an unnecessary expense.
Although times have changed on that front (61 percent of the workforce is now female), many employers have been slow to listen and even slower to respond. However, as more and more couples must hold down two full-time jobs to make ends meet, meaning that child care is a need-to-have vs. a nice-to-have, I suspect that child care benefits will become a deal breaker for people looking for a job.
WHAT CAN I DO? Share this blog with the people in your organization who make benefits decisions. In order for you to attract the best and brightest talent, you must compete on salary, benefits, and culture. Yes, all three. Gone are the days when employees are grateful for one out or two out of three. You need to score a Hat Trick – as they say in hockey – and bring all three to the table in a big way. Want more tips on how to differentiate your organization from the competition? Check out my blog archive.