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How Companies Can Help Employees with Childcare Right Now

Parents are under a lot of pressure right now, and there aren’t many places to turn to for support. Traditional avenues like calling grandma and grandpa are off the table for a lot of people. Daycares and childcare centers are always one positive case away from being closed for cleaning, testing, and quarantine, and that’s a best-case scenario. Alternatively, they may have already closed or are on the brink of closing down. 

In addition to the struggles of simply trying to find childcare, many families are asking if it’s worth sending kids to school two days per week or into any group care scenario if it means they can’t responsibly see their grandparents or other family members for…a year? No one has the timeline or any real answers, so what can be done right now in the absence of answers? 

Employer Childcare Benefits

Many large employers provide childcare benefits to their employees, and some smaller companies are beginning to follow suit. Benefits can range from:

  • Partnerships with trusted resources, like local babysitting and nanny agencies who have been carefully vetted and carry industry accreditations, or child care centers that are licensed by the DCA with excellent reviews, low turn over, and a detailed curriculum, giving parents a place to start rather than a blank Google search
  • Subsidized in-home childcare benefits that include everything from infant and toddler care to homework help and virtual learning for school-aged kids, for the short-term or on a seasonal basis
  • Covering fees for high-quality vetting of a full-time nanny, babysitter, or private educator hires, so a family can go through this typically time-consuming process quickly and efficiently

What Companies Should Consider

When choosing a childcare partner to provide a childcare benefit at the corporate level, companies should consider a few things:

  • How helpful is the offering? For example, providing your employees with access to a large database of individuals who have self-identified as childcare providers while putting the responsibility on your employee to do the job outlining and vetting on their own is not especially helpful.
  • For babysitting and nanny agencies like SmartSitting that provide corporate child care services and handle all the caregiver screening and background checking, who employs the caregivers for tax and liability purposes? 
  • How big is the network of care providers for short-term and long-term needs, and what support can be provided to your employees in a market appropriate timeframe?
  • How quickly can your partner help you implement a childcare benefits program?
  • What COVID precautions are being taken by anyone going into the homes of your employees?

Other Ways Employers Can Help

Childcare benefits are an expensive benefit that can rival typically annual health insurance costs on a per-employee basis, depending on the level of benefit being provided. For companies and employers that don’t have the resources to provide childcare programming like this right now, there are other ways you can help today. 

  • Be flexible with schedules and deadlines as long as goals are being met. If you have an employee with 2 young children at home and a spouse that also works, don’t expect a 40-hour workweek from that employee if you’re going to limit them to regular business hours. Being goal-oriented means that things can happen on different schedules, and it helps you… 
  • Avoid micromanagement, like counting keystrokes or asking where someone went because they were probably in the bathroom! Parents working under micromanagers will see themselves right out the virtual door. Not only has micromanagement never been a sustainable management style, it’s especially unrealistic now.
  • Focus on retention. Be supportive and recognize that this is simply a moment in time and that training and hiring new employees costs a lot more than retaining your established and successful workforce. 

SmartSitting helps employers provide high-quality childcare offerings like private educators, full-time and part-time nannies, and fill-in babysitters with education backgrounds who are able to help support in-home learning. Contact us today to learn more about our corporate childcare benefits and how we can help you support your employees.

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