Children playing with box of loose parts

Learn More About On-site Child Care

Working parents face a number of challenges, including finding child care when it’s time to go back to work after welcoming a new baby. Finding care for your child for at least the next four years of their life is a huge decision — it can be overwhelming and stressful.  

There are so many options for parents to consider — care from a family member or close friend; a daycare or child care center (close to home, close to work, or along their commute); an educational daycare…and the list goes on.  

Then, once a parent chooses the type of child care they’re looking for, they’ll likely want to take tours, speak with staff members, and more. It’s an incredibly time-consuming process. 

On-site child care — employer provided child care or employer child care benefits — can help.

The Benefits of On-site Child Care 

This type of child care is offered right on an organization’s campus — and there are many benefits of on-site child care for both employees and employers.  

For working parents, having their young child close by can offer peace of mind and make it easier to focus on work. And more focused employees leads to greater productivity for the organization.  

Another benefit of on-site child care is flexibility for working parents. The “commute” to the center might be a three-minute walk, as opposed to a 40-minute drive — and that gives these employees more time in the office, instead of on the road. (Another benefit for employers!) The convenient location is also a huge benefit when a parent has to pick their child up early — and unexpectedly.  

How Do Employers Provide On-site Child Care? 

Some organizations have had on-site child care for ages — Patagonia, for example, started their child care program when two founders parked a trailer in front of the office so that they’d have a private place to nurse their infants. The on-site child care center, now known as the Great Pacific Child Development Center, grew alongside the company and now has the capacity for 100 children.

On-site child care operations are often outsourced to experts in the industry, like Bright Horizons. So instead of diverting resources to creating a curriculum; vetting, hiring, and training child care staff; and everything else required to operate an on-site child care center, organizations are able to offer their employees the benefits of professional child care without having to manage the day-to-day operations. Organizations can choose to attach the child care company’s name to their center name — or they can keep the name in line with their own brand (like Patagonia, mentioned above). 

Types of On-Site Child Care Programs 

When an organization partners with a child care company to provide on-site child care, they can choose from a variety of program options. Depending on the local regulations, care for infants may begin as early as six weeks. Ideally, on-site child care centers should be able to care for infants whose parents are returning to work following family leave. 

An on-site child care center may provide infant care, toddler care, preschool, and pre-K. And organizations that offer care from early infancy through school-age give their working parents an easy solution for early care and education — they won’t have to find an all-new program for the preschool or pre-k years.  

In addition to caring for children until they go to kindergarten, an on-site child care center may also offer back-up care for school-age (and younger!) children. Back-up care covers gaps in child care that result from circumstances outside of a working parent’s control — caregiver sick days, after-school program cancellations, and more. 

On-Site Child Care Through Bright Horizons 

On-site child care is so much more than babysitting. When organizations partner with Bright Horizons, for example, to provide on-site child care, employees’ children benefit from a curriculum based on children’s interests, age-appropriate and engaging materials and classrooms, experienced and professional teachers, activities that boost school readiness, and more. 

What should I know about on-site child care?

How common is on-site child care?

Within the Fortune 100, a survey found that one in six of these organizations provides on-site child care (with at least one location). Overall, it’s estimated that around six percent of organizations in the U.S. provide it. 

Is on-site child care the same as preschool?

Sometimes — an on-site child care facility may offer a preschool program.

Is on-site child care a pre-K?

Sometimes — depending on the on-site child care program and the organization, a pre-K program may be included.

 Are on-site child care centers licensed?

Yes. On-site child care programs must follow all state and local child care regulations and licensing requirements.

Does my employer have to provide on-site child care?

No — in the United States, employers are not required to offer on-site child care.


Family care benefits have never been more important. See how Bright Horizons can support your team.

Bright Horizons offers more than a traditional daycare. It helps parents looking for education-based Boston daycare, NYC daycare, Chicago daycare, Washington, DC daycare, Los Angeles daycare, San Francisco daycare, Seattle daycare and local daycares in other cities. It also provides back-up daycare and elder care, employer-sponsored child care, employer tuition assistance, workforce education, and student loan repayment programs. Bright Horizons Global Headquarters is located in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.