Learn About Employee Child Care Benefits with Bright Horizons

Bright Horizons daycare teacher with toddler


Employers across all industries have come to realize the extraordinary value of employee child care benefits. By helping working parents solve their child care challenges, businesses can reduce the disruptions that arise when parents are caught between work and family obligations. When parents no longer feel stressed about child care, they are free to focus on turning in their best performance at work. Employer-sponsored child care is also a highly sought-after benefit that can retain valuable employees and attract top talent.

Bright Horizons is a leading provider of strategic solutions like employee child care benefits. With comprehensive solutions for developing and managing on-site child care centers and back-up care solutions, we enable employers to support their workforce at every stage of life while maintaining a more robust talent pipeline.

What types of child care benefits is an employee entitled to receive?

What types of child care benefits is an employee entitled to receive?

In the United States, there is no federal law mandating employer child care benefits. There may be state or local mandates requiring an employer to provide coverage, but otherwise employer child care benefits are entirely determined by the individual contract between the employer and employee.

Is paid maternity leave or paid adoption leave an employer child care benefit?

Paid maternity and adoption leave are considered a separate benefit from child care. Many employers in the United States are required to provide paid maternity or adoption leave for their employees.

Are employer child care benefits considered taxable income?

In the United States, the first $5,000 of employer child care benefits are not considered taxable income. Benefits over $5,000 are reported as taxable income.

Will an employer pay for a family member to care for my children?

Individual employers may offer some type of assistance for employees that use an informal caretaker for child care. It is important for a working parent that expects this benefit to check with their human resources department about whether this is available.

Do employer child care benefits include school tuition?

Employer child care benefits often include preschool and pre-K tuition, but may not include private elementary school tuition.

The need for employee child care benefits

Working parents today are hard-pressed to find suitable child care. High-quality programs are few and far between, and premier providers often charge rates that rival college tuition. When parents do find an affordable provider that seems like a good fit, the waitlist for available space can stretch out weeks or months. The lack of trusted, affordable care can leave parents worried and stressed – and unable to focus on turning in their best performance at work. As a result, many parents end up scaling back their hours at work or contemplating leaving the workforce altogether.

This reality makes parents’ child care issues a talent management challenge for employers. Working parents make up nearly a third of the workforce. Many women today are delaying having children until their 30s when they’re in established careers and senior-level positions that are difficult and costly to replace. Businesses are losing valuable female leadership as mothers decide to delay their careers to raise children – or as they seek out more family-friendly employers. And working fathers are at risk, too, as they reconsider how much they’re willing to give up for a career. 

Employee child care benefits offer a strategic solution. Providing the support that parents need to achieve a stable work-life balance, benefits like onsite daycare alleviate the stress of finding high-quality, affordable child care. By helping working parents envision a career where there professional and personal lives can easily coexist, employee child care benefits allow employers to retain and attract the talent they need to compete.

Employee child care benefits programs from Bright Horizons

Bright Horizons has been helping businesses cultivate high-performance workforces for more than 30 years. Our strategic benefit solutions support employees through every life stage and career phase, providing high-impact services that appeal to talented workers and drive recruitment and retention. Our offerings range from child care benefits to employee wellness programs and benefits and educational benefits such as nursing tuition reimbursement, helping businesses to build employer brands that are focused on the well-being and advancement of their workforces.

Our employee child care benefits programs include design, development, and management of on-site child care centers that relieve employee stress, reduce turnover, and become a magnet for high-potential employees looking to build families and careers. 

Our comprehensive development process can take care of every detail, from an initial needs analysis to budget modeling and utilization projections, ensuring that a customized child care center will embody the culture of the organization and meet the unique needs of a workforce.

When managing an on-site child care center, our experienced teams can create custom educational programs while handling every aspect of operations – from managing staff, payroll, and benefits to dealing with licensing, compliance, and safety.

Advantages for employers and employees

Employee child care benefits offer a wealth of advantages for businesses and workers alike. 

Improve retention: Build loyalty among employees with a workplace culture that helps to address their child care needs and supports a better work/life balance.
Increase recruitment: High-impact employee child care benefits attract talented workers who have or are interested in starting a family. 
Drive productivity: Boost concentration and performance at work by providing the support employees need to solve care challenges at home.
Enhance brand value: Employers offering employee child care benefits like on-site centers are often ranked among the top places to work.  
Customize services: Meet the unique demands of your employee’s schedules with centers offering hours and services tailored to the individual needs of the workforce.
Humanize the workplace: Create connections across levels of the company with care centers where C-Suite SVPs and entry-level administrators drop off their kids at the same time. 

Additional Bright Horizons family solutions 

In addition to employee child care benefits, Bright Horizons provides a range of other family care solutions. 

Back-up care: When snow closes schools or a stay-at-home spouse must serve jury duty, employees can depend on Bright Horizons’ comprehensive back-up care solutions. We provide back-up child care, elder care, and care for other dependents needing special assistance, with in-home and center-based options. With 24-hour call centers and a convenient desktop and mobile platform, employees can quickly and efficiently coordinate care, helping to minimize disruptions in the workplace.
Elder Care: Many employees are sandwiched between caring for children and aging parents with growing care needs. Our services provide employees with support for complex and emotional elder care challenges. Bright Horizons elder care experts can help to manage and track medical appointments, document health histories and care plans, communicate with in-home aides, and serve as a wealth of information for financial, legal, and medical resources.
College coach: We offer expert guidance and an array of services that help families navigate the many complex decisions around preparing for and applying to college. 
Special needs: For families who have children with emotional, behavioral, or developmental challenges, we offer resources that can help children succeed academically and beyond, enabling their parents to perform best at work.
Education solutions: Our EdAssist Solutions® include tuition program management, education access, and student loan repayment programs that help to drive recruitment, retention, and talent development.


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

Bright Horizons is a United States–based child-care provider and is the largest provider of employer-sponsored child care. Employees looking to become a child care teacher are offered the opportunity to earn an early education degree for free as part of their corporate benefits. Search by zip to find a child care center near you. Bright Horizons Global Headquarters are in Newton, Massachusetts, USA.