Companies are opting out of onsite daycare centers for less costly benefits
- These days, fewer employers are offering brick-and-mortar onsite daycare centers, says SHRM. Companies, largely big corporations, built daycare centers on their grounds to accommodate the childcare needs of working mothers entering the workforce, while midsize and small companies sponsored onsite centers in other locations.
- SHRM’s 2016 Employee Benefits survey report showed a different story. Onsite daycare centers are benefiting a small segment of employees and not serving the diverse needs of the general workforce. Only 2% of the employers surveyed sponsor daycare centers, a significant decrease from 9% in 1996 and 4% in 2012.
- The study showed that fewer employers are offering onsite daycare centers and opting instead for benefits that satisfy a broader, more diverse employee population. These benefits include paid-time-off banks, which allow employees to accrue, or “bank,” paid time off that they can use for any purpose; flexible work schedules that let workers adjust their schedules to accommodate childcare needs; paid-parental-leave programs, which offer paid maternity leave beyond what short-term disability or state-mandated coverage provides; and paid paternity leave.
Daycare center users are a small niche that’s growing smaller when compared to the overall employee population. More workers are single parents, delaying parenthood and sharing childcare responsibilities as dual-career couples. Also, onsite daycare centers are expensive to run and aren’t operating at full capacity. These factors make them a costly benefit for most companies.
While some companies like Patagonia have made modern takes on the onsite daycare center work, many workplaces require a different take. Workplaces are multigenerational, with Boomers, GenX and Millennials in the mix. Companies will need to be flexible, yet cost-effective, in providing benefits suited to each group.