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The Cost of Care is Impacting Employees' Careers

Patrick Ball on August 08, 2016 09:54 AM

 The fight for today’s top young talent is fierce, to be sure. From tech to finance to retail, industry leaders are crafting recruiting and retention strategies to reel in rockstars and protect high performers from poachers.

In this competitive job market, you need  value proposition that appeals to the whole employee – not just his or her wallet. When you can make a difference in your employees’ lives, you’re rewarded with loyalty, engagement and improved productivity. 

Nearly two-thirds of working parents admit child care costs influence their career decisions and roughly three-quarters say their job has been impacted by child care, but less than half say their employer seems to care about their child care needs.

That's why so many of the employers identified as the best places to work offer family-care benefits, like paid parental leave and backup child care.They understand an investment in your employees' families is an investment in your organization's future. And the data continues to bear this out.’s fourth annual Cost of Care report shows the myriad ways child care impacts the lives of American families, covering a range of topics from household budgets to work-life challenges.  

Roughly one-third of the families we surveyed spend over 20 percent of their household income on child care. It’s easy to see why so many are struggling to balance care and work.

  • 63 percent say child care costs have influenced their career decisions
  • 85 percent of respondents said they wish their employer offered child care benefits.
  • 73 percent of parents say their job has been impacted because child care has fallen through.

To compete for and retain today’s best young talent – which includes moms, dads and folks thinking about becoming parents – modern companies must address parents’ needs with family care benefits as basic table stakes. It’s what employees need, it's what they expect ... and they're not afraid to look elsewhere for it. 

“It’s clear from the 2017 Cost of Care Survey that working parents continue to struggle balancing care and work,” says Ben Robinson, Global VP of Sales & Account Management for Care@Work,’s enterprise solution for helping companies support their working families. “It’s important that companies today address their workforce’s parental responsibilities and offer family care benefits, especially if they want to compete for and retain the best talent. Fifty-two percent of parents surveyed feel that workplaces should provide benefits to support working families. Whether it’s a flexible work arrangement or subsidized back up child care, these benefits should reflect the way today’s parents work.”

Care@Work’s Better Benefits survey found more than 60 percent of employees would leave a job for one with better family-care benefits. That number jumps to 83 percent among Millennials. The research also found 90 percent of employees have left work, and 30 percent have cut back by 6 or more hours per week due to family responsibilities.

As the way we work and live evolves, it’s vital that the way we support employees does as well. It’s important that family-care benefits reflect the way today’s parents work – they need to provide flexible, on-demand options to meet their child care needs when, how and where they want.

In the Cost of Care survey, we asked working parents what happens when their child care plans fall through. 

  • 64 percent of respondents use a sick day
  • 54 percent had to come in late

Now what if they had employer-provided family-care benefits that were easily accessible from a desktop or mobile app? Employees with backup care through Care@Work are able to work six additional hours a week and six additional days per year thanks to in-home and center-based options when those unexpected care needs arise. 

When an employees care needs go unaddressed, it can build into significant issues. Care-related absenteeism, presenteeism and churn cost American businesses billions every year in lost productivity costs. The thing is -- it's preventable. 

When business leaders are able to demonstrate they understand the juggling act of trying to balance work and family by offering like subsidized backup care or resource and referral benefits, it makes a positive impact that permeates throughout the organization. The return on investment is realized through improving retention, reducing absenteeism and ultimately boosting the bottom line.