Amidst an ongoing childcare crisis, families need help with childcare now more than ever. Working parents are asking for daycares, backup care, nannies/nanny-sharing, childcare stipends, babysitters/babysitter-sharing, and tutoring.
Depending on one’s perspective, that may seem like a lot to request, however, it reflects the varied childcare needs working families are confronted with on a daily basis.
Some parents may struggle with childcare access and seek employer-sponsored childcare benefits in the form of daycare or a nanny. Affordability concerns for employees can be alleviated by childcare stipends. And there are working families who may have regular childcare arrangements in place yet have a serious need for backup care to ensure they have childcare when plans change or fall through at the last minute.
Modern families need modern childcare benefits
Like many aspects of American society, the concept of what constitutes a family has evolved over time. That evolution necessitates a more flexible approach to childcare benefits for employees.
In 2022, the modern family is:
- Nuclear families: A basic social unit defined as a couple and their dependent children. Even though much has changed over the years, a nuclear family is still what many people picture when thinking about employer-sponsored childcare.
- Guardians and kids: Increasingly, a legal guardian may take the place of biological parents as the main parental influence in a child’s life. Accordingly, everyone should have the option of employee childcare benefits, including guardians.
- Same-sex couples: It’s important that same-sex couples receive the same care benefits as everyone else. This includes men who require childcare benefits typically only offered to women at the organization.
- Parents who work from home: Even before the pandemic, some households had a parent or guardian who worked remotely or a hybrid schedule. Over the last couple of years, the number of Americans working from home has skyrocketed, which has fundamentally changed the family dynamics for countless households. These working families need more flexible childcare options, including backup care, to fit their new normal of working from home.
Whichever form it takes, one universal trait of the modern family is that it is a busy social unit, juggling work priorities along with daily life challenges, including childcare and school. As a result, simply finding care for children can feel like a very tall task, ranging from a time-consuming chore to a seemingly impossible journey.
Not surprisingly, these working families are looking for help and employers can provide it with employee childcare benefits like childcare assistance, backup care, and childcare stipends.
Understanding employee childcare benefits requests
For busy working parents and guardians, childcare is a necessity rather than a luxury or nice-to-have. They need flexible, affordable options that work for their unique childcare needs, which is why they’re requesting:
- Daycares: Long the go-to option for families seeking childcare, daycares come in different forms with corresponding strengths and weaknesses. There are traditional, on-site daycare centers as well as smaller, home daycares based out of a caregiver’s home. On-site daycare centers may work for employees who are commuting for a full-time role with standard 9 - 5 hours, assuming there is availability at the facility and not a long waitlist. Home daycare providers, on the other hand, typically offer extended hours for more flexible scheduling and they are more likely to be located closer to home or work for additional convenience.
- Nannies & Babysitters (nanny-sharing/babysitter-sharing): Nannies and babysitters can provide even more flexibility than daycare because they provide childcare in the family’s own home. A nanny share is when two or more families split the cost of one nanny. The nanny may care for both family’s children at the same time or divide their time between households. Babysitter sharing works the same way. This option appeals to many families who appreciate the increased 1:1 time and attention their kids receive with this model of childcare.
- Tutoring: For some working families with school-aged children, their late afternoon, post-school day childcare needs are figured out and they are more in need of tutoring services for their kids. Tutors can provide general academic support or specialize in very specific subjects to assist students with their studies. Parents and guardians value the focused 1:1 educational approach to help their children with the sizable demands of school.
- Childcare stipends: Intended to help employees cover the costs of childcare, childcare stipends are an employer-sponsored childcare benefits tool that many families want. Organizations can offer customizable amounts, in monthly or annual allotments, to help their working families afford the crucial childcare that will allow them to be productive on the job.
- Backup care (also known as “emergency care”): Even for working families who have their regular childcare situations more or less settled, there will be times when plans change or fall through unexpectedly, requiring emergency childcare, or backup care, to ensure children are cared for on that particular day. Backup care provides a safety net for families and can be the difference between an employee missing a day of work and having a regular, productive workday.
WeeCare is the largest childcare network in America and a leading provider of childcare benefits for employees, helping employers across the country support their working families with the care benefits they need. Our network has grown to over 5,000 licensed home daycare providers, plus an additional 30,000+ babysitters and nannies.
WeeCare’s employee childcare benefits offerings include childcare assistance to help families discover and access flexible childcare options, backup care to provide childcare when regular plans change, and childcare stipends to offset employees’ childcare costs. These flexible programs are affordable and can be paired together to meet the unique needs of your workforce.
To further the employer-sponsored childcare benefits conversation at your organization and discuss ways to satisfy your employees’ care benefits requests, feel free to reach out to our team at email@example.com.