Why Providing On-Site Childcare Doesn't Cost Companies

The United States isn't easy on working mothers. It's one of only two countries in the world that doesn't offer paid maternity leave, for one thing. (The other is Papua New Guinea.) And even if mothers get the financial support to make it through those first few months, they're offered little support when they return to work. Most need to pay for childcare, which can cost as much as 35% of a family's annual income, depending on the state. If companies offered on-site childcare as a perk of the job, many employees would benefit. So why don't they?

Many companies worry about the costs. If a company pays for a service that only a portion of its employees use, it might cause all sorts of issues, from worker resentment to wasted money. A 2004 study, however, found that not only did companies actually save money through employee attraction and retention by establishing on-site childcare, but most workers were willing to contribute to the program regardless of whether or not they had children. As researcher Deborah DeGraff told Bowdoin College, "They liked the idea that the company took care of the person who worked down the row from them."

What's more, on-site childcare doesn't have to actually cost companies anything—at least, not when all is said and done. According to an essay for Fast Company by Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario, when you combine federal tax benefits, employee retention, and improved productivity, companies can recoup or even profit from the costs of on-site childcare. Marcario estimates that Patagonia recovers 91% of its annual costs, whereas JPMorgan Chase Bank estimates 115% in savings and KPMG finds a return of 125%. Explore the issues of childcare and family leave in the workplace with the videos below.

What On-Site Childcare Does For Patagonia

Hear how this company makes childcare work for their bottom line.

Is Paid Maternity Leave Effective?

Delve into the data.

Why Paid Maternity Leave Is Smart for Companies

Take it from the CEO of YouTube.

Written by Curiosity Staff August 29, 2016

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