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Benefits of Employer-Sponsored Care

Employer-sponsored child care programmes generate a powerful return on investment. By driving down staff turnover, reducing absenteeism, and increasing productivity at work, child care and work/life programmes are not only an investment in employees, but an investment in the success of your company. In fact, after the first year of employment, most employee turnover occurs among the parents of young children. By providing programmes that allow those parents to work - and perform to their full capacity - leading employers reduce the recurring costs of recruiting and retaining skilled employees.

The numbers speak for themselves: Unscheduled absences, for example, cost employers between $650 and $1,000 per employee per year (National Institute of Business Management, 1999). A four-year review of JPMorgan Chase's back-up care programme, managed by Bright Horizons, showed that 98% of parents who use the programme would have taken unscheduled time off from work to care for their children had the back-up programme not been available. In just one year, the back-up programme generated more than a 100% return on investment.

Sickness absence in the United Kingdom costs employers around £11 billion per annum ( Industrial Society 2000 p 25). In the UK one quarter of employers rank home and family esponsibilities as one of the five main causes of sickness absence (DTI 2000b p13). The DTI survey of working parents found that in the year to Autumn 2000 forty nine per cent of working parents had experienced a family emergency involving their child during the working week. Eighty nine per cent of these parents took time off work as a result. The mean amount of time parents took off work for their last family emergency was 2.4 days, although 46 per cent took no more than one day (DTI 2000a pp48-49).

Recruitment and Retention

In a study of employees with children in employer-sponsored child care programmes, 93% of respondents said that work-site child care was an important factor in considering a job change. 19% had actually turned down another job, rather than lose their work-site child care, and 26% of those who turned down other job opportunities were managers. (Benefits of Work-Site Child Care, Simmons College, 1997)

42% of parents report that child care was an important factor in their decision to join the organisation for which they work. (Benefits of Work-Site Child Care, Simmons College, 1997)

A high percentage of employees are expecting a child plan to return to work following the child's arrival (83%). However, 86% of employees who do not plan to return to work after the birth or adoption of a child would return if work-site child care were available. (Bright Horizons Child Care Trends, 2002)

Turnover

Among parent employees, 31% report they have considered leaving their employers due to child care issues. 85% percent of these employees report that a work-site centre would affect their decision to stay, with more than 50% reporting it would have a significant impact. (Bright Horizons Child Care Trends, 2002)

The full cost of turnover is 1.5 times the annual salary of a salaried employee who leaves, and .75 times the annual salary of an hourly paid employee who leaves. (Personnel Journal, December 1990) Reducing turnover has a direct impact on an organisation's bottom line.

Absenteeism/Employee Productivity

Among parents, 45% miss at least one day of work every six months due to a child care breakdown. These parents average 4.3 days missed in a six-month timeframe. (Bright Horizons Child Care Trends, 2002)

Among parents, 65% are late to work or leaving work early due to child care issues. This occurs an average of 7.5 times in a six-month timeframe. (Bright Horizons Child Care Trends, 2002)

A MORI survey published in the UK in May 2002 by the Daycare Trust found that of the 104 employers surveyed, the majority of employers said childcare problems mean that staff are unable to work extra or late hours when needed (70 per cent) and cited absenteeism due to childcare problems (66 per cent). Almost half (45 per cent) identified difficulties recruiting and retaining staff, 42 per cent said childcare problems mean tiredness, irritability and stress and 40 per cent say childcare problems lead to female staff not returning to work after maternity leave (Daycare Trust 2002 n.p).

Employee Job Satisfaction and Performance

91% of all respondents, including employees without children, feel work-site child care will have a positive impact on the organisation for which they work. (Bright Horizons Child Care Trends, 2002)

Employees who use, or are aware of, work/life programmes are the most committed employees in the company and are the least likely to feel overwhelmed or burnt out. At one company, these employees were 45% more likely to strongly agree that they would "go the extra mile" to help their company succeed. This directly contradicts the traditional assumption that employees with family responsibilities are unwilling or unable to extend themselves for their employers. ( DuPont Work/Life Study, 1995)

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