Opinion Editor: Child Care Solutions for Utah Employers | News, Sports, Jobs
The topic of child care has an impact on almost every family in Utah in one way or another, and because of this, more and more employers in Utah – than whether it’s business, government, education or community – think about ways to help. In fact, because of Utah’s talent pool, it’s more often included in strategic discussions for organizational leaders. Research has now shown that childcare support encourages diversity and is a valuable recruitment and retention tool (use this tool to calculate how much turnover is costing your business).
The Utah Women & Leadership Project (UWLP) team has just published a document containing some ideas for employers to consider on this subject. Over the past few years, many business leaders have told me that they are nervous about offering ‘child care allowances’ because they do not want to open a day care center on site. . For some employers, this might be the answer, but there are many other types of child care benefits that could be available. It is not “all or nothing!”
Here’s a list of 10 ideas for employers – from the least demanding options to the most resource-intensive – that can be used to support working parents:
- Be a champion of child care policy by using your influence and voice to advocate for family-friendly policy in Utah.
- Offer flexible hours so parents can work around school and activities.
- Implement remote / telecommuting options so that parents can better manage their professional life.
- Provide flexible expense accounts. A Section 125 plan or cafeteria-style benefit plan allows employees to choose the benefits they need at different times in their lives.
- Subsidize child care costs for the type of care chosen by employees.
- Offer a voucher system that contracts with childcare providers or community centers for services to their employees. This can include full-time care, part-time care, alternative care, or summer care.
- Use various federal tax incentives. These may include employer child care assistance credit, employer-provided child care credit, exclusion of child care assistance provided by employer of an employee’s gross income and various incentives for employer-provided child care (see this page for details).
- Partner with organizations like Wonderschool, which offers employee assistance services, networks childcare programs, offers tuition support plans, and can recruit and train home care providers. to serve your employees.
- Provide consortium-type child care services where businesses located near the site team up to subsidize a local child care provider as well as child care slots for their employees from that provider.
- Provide on-site child care.
Also, for more resources, research, and advice, see the Utah Department of Workforce Services Office of Child Care, the US Chamber Foundation Guide, and the Working document. Parent Childcare Resources from UWLP, as well as the Childcare Toolkit.
Utah’s economy can continue to grow, and Utah families can prosper better if employers carefully examine the full continuum of child care benefits – as well as other family-friendly policies and benefits – to attract, retain and support their employees. Utah is high when employers and employees work together to make our state great for all.
Susan R. Madsen is Karen Haight Huntsman Endowed Professor of Leadership at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University and founding director of the Utah Women & Leadership Project.