Are Childcare Benefit Programs Expensive?

Employers considering expanding existing care benefits need to gather as much information as possible to make these significant decisions, so we are going to tackle an overarching question that our WeeCare team gets asked all the time: Are employee childcare benefits programs expensive?

The answer, of course, is complicated.

The difficult truth is that most childcare benefit programs are expensive and not all that effective. However, they don’t have to be this way. If you choose the right program to implement, you’ll find an immediate and significant ROI as you support working families at your organization.

Employer questions about childcare benefits

Employers typically have a few questions about employee childcare benefits programs as they review the options available to determine the best fit for their workforce. The top three questions are:

  1. Are employee childcare benefits attainable? Traditionally, childcare benefits for employees can be quite expensive and therefore unattainable for many employers. Fortunately, there are now more affordable employer-sponsored childcare benefits available that are within reach of organizations from every industry across the country.
  2. What types of childcare benefits programs are available? Employer childcare benefits include childcare assistance programs to help working parents find and access quality, affordable childcare for their families. Childcare stipends are an option employers can offer to assist employees with childcare costs. And backup care programs are an important way to support working families with a care plan when there is an emergency or last-minute childcare is needed.
  3. Which type of childcare providers can employees choose? Depending on the childcare network and employee childcare benefits program selected, working families can find caregivers ranging from daycare providers and nannies to babysitters and tutors. Some childcare networks include home daycare providers, who are licensed to provide childcare from their home and offer smaller class sizes with more flexible schedules. Home daycare providers, nannies, and babysitters can provide after-school care as well.

Flexible childcare benefits for employees

If you’re interested in getting the most for your money and providing the best value to your workforce, find a flexible childcare-as-a-benefit program. This is important so that both you and your employees pay only for the childcare that is needed and ultimately used.

  • Childcare-as-a-benefit is a term used to describe when employers offer care benefits to employees that include childcare. Similar to health, dental, and 401k benefits, a childcare-as-a-benefit program provides employees with the choice to opt-in to take advantage of the specific benefits the employer is offering to their workforce.

In addition to selecting the right, flexible program, make sure to take advantage of substantial tax credits available to employers offering childcare benefits to their employees. We discussed tax credits in a previous post, and it’s worth reiterating that organizations can receive up to $150,000 in federal tax credits.

Our team at WeeCare can help you understand how many credits you would be eligible for to see how much money you could save by implementing a childcare-as-a-benefit program.

Finding affordable childcare

As you survey the array of options for a benefit to support your working families with childcare, make sure you choose one that actually services those families. After all, that’s the whole point, right?

The reality is that most forms of childcare are already unaffordable for many families, which is why the employee childcare benefits program that you’re providing is so crucial. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions and right idea, many employers are opting for the wrong programs. An example of this is a program in which the childcare costs run in the thousands of dollars per month range for employees. In these cases, you would basically be paying money to give your working parents access to a program that they still can’t afford.

To successfully avoid this scenario, you’ll need to find an affordable childcare network that includes flexible care options. This will allow you to pass those savings down to your employees, who only pay for the childcare they need and use.

At WeeCare, our business model is geared toward enabling employers to afford flexible, high-quality childcare programs that their employees find useful, accessible, and actually affordable for their family budgets.

  • We own both sides of the childcare marketplace, with years of extensive knowledge and data about both the parent and provider experience.
  • We have dedicated care managers to assist working families with their unique childcare needs.
  • We’re a tech-forward company focused on home daycares rather than larger, on-site daycare centers.
  • Because of these factors, WeeCare is more affordable than our main competitors.
  • Whereas some of our competitors charge millions of dollars to open and manage a childcare facility — or offer memberships for $16 per person per year — WeeCare can provide employee childcare benefits for around $0.83 per employee per month, a sizable difference in budget commitment for employers.
  • Backup care credits cost $300 - $400 each with our competitors, while WeeCare’s backup care credits cost significantly less and represent a much more cost-effective way to support your workforce with the important backup care they need.

How to select the right childcare network

When thinking about your options for employee childcare benefits, choosing a childcare network for your organization is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Every childcare network looks to offer comparable services, however, costs and coverage can differ significantly based on who you choose to work with.

An important step in the process is gaining a better understanding of the particular needs your working families have for childcare. This information can be gleaned internally with an employee survey or from a third party employer childcare benefits provider as part of their workforce analysis. However you gather it, this information will help inform the choice of which childcare network is the right fit for your organization.

Childcare benefits ROI

As we mentioned earlier, implementing childcare benefits can bring you serious ROI. How much? With the right program, you could see a 400% return on your investment within the first year, full stop. And surprisingly, it can be as inexpensive as only a few dollars per employee per year.

  • To find out just how much you can save by adding an employee childcare benefits program, try using WeeCare’s ROI Calculator for a custom ROI analysis. We developed our ROI calculator with employers in mind to help provide data for these important organizational decisions.

We have many employers using WeeCare that are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, thanks to their employee childcare benefits program. If you’re interested in starting to compound value at your organization for your deserving workforce, we’re always here when you’re ready to explore your childcare benefit options so we can help you find the right fit.

We are available at benefits@weecare.co to chat about your team’s childcare needs and you can also find more information about WeeCare at WeeCare.co.

Read more about the pros and cons of on-site childcare centers.

WeeCare was founded in 2017 and has become a leader in the childcare technology and employee childcare benefits spaces, building the largest network of childcare providers in the United States. The company is making strides in solving the childcare crisis by providing employers and families access to affordable, high-quality childcare while supporting childcare providers in operating sustainable businesses through a technology-based marketplace.

Related Articles