Your Biggest Summer Productivity Problem

summer child care

One of the first lessons of kindergarten is math.

Not for children...for their parents.

The equation: take the roughly 260 workdays in a calendar year, subtract the 180 days of a public school year, and you end up with as many as 80 days a year to scramble for care.

Solving the Gap in Summer Child Care

For parents used to the work-friendly rhythms of a child care center, it leaves a giant-sized void where summer used to be.

"Families Can Expect to Pay 20 Percent of Income on Summer Child Care," goes the top line on a study by the Center for American Progress. It adds: "The typical school day rarely reflects parents' work schedules."

It's a problem for parents who risk missing workdays. But it's also a black hole for employers. Business continuity depends on present employees. And those missed workdays add up to roughly $3,000 annually per employee.

Benefit Equity and Support for Older Children

It's no surprise then that back-up care benefits are picking up steam. Many top employers already offer child care. But the end of preschool leaves a gap for parents between the early grade-school years when kids still need babysitters, and the teenage years when they don't. Plus, with record low unemployment, employers have recruitment and retention to think about. And with millions of prime-career working parents, organizations are seeking every advantage they can find.

"Employers are looking for other ways to support their workforce's caregiving needs," wrote Working Mother in 2017 about trends in benefits, "and differentiate themselves in the war for talent." Not surprisingly, back-up care is on the rise. In 2017, 92% of Working Mother winners offered it, and 100% of the top ten. The extra benefit is it fills the gap for parents with children who have aged out of child care.

"It's the coolest thing for individuals like myself who have older kids to see their employers not just work on maternity, paternity and adoption benefits," one working mom told Working Mother.

"When I see my employer committed to following you as you age, it makes me feel more committed to the company."

Smart programs even take it a step further, leveraging spaces in their own onsite centers for back-up families, and using existing caregiver networks for families with elder relatives as well.

As one employer put it, "Everything has been a benefit to all our employees, no matter where they live, where they work."

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.