The possibility of providing child care assistance to employees
Since we last spoke I have been conducting extensive research into the matter of providing some form of child care assistance to the employees of Harper Industries. Needless to say, I have read much, studied much, and learned much. The final form of this reading, studying, and learning is attached to this memorandum.
As you know, we had a very positive reaction from the employees concerning the possibility of offering some assistance to them in the very expensive area of child care. Before beginning this study I was unaware of the monetary expense involved in having one child taken care of by an honest, kind individual. Since completing the writing of this report I am much more tolerant and much more knowledgeable about the matter of the difficulties of obtaining reasonably priced, reliable child care. In my research I found instances where it was possible for a family to be better off financially with one of the parents staying at home with their children because the pay that parent would have received was less than the amount which would have to be spent for child care. For these reasons, I believe it would benefit all of the employees to have this following report, particularly the section about the monetary cost of child care, presented to them.
I hope that the results of the human resource team will give you a clear picture of what is happening in the world of corporate provided child care. You will find that there are several options that might be considered for Harper Industries and that I have made recommendations to you relevant to these options.
A truly appreciate your confidence in our human resource team here at Harper Supply. Each member worked diligently to provide the most current and informative results. As always, I am in my office at extension 1234 or my be reached by pager at.
With best wishes,
Table 1. The Pro's and Con's of Building a Corporate Child Care Center 10
Harper Supply Company Employee Child-Care Survey - 2002 16
National and regional demographics 17
Table 2. Median Income for Families in the U.S. And in Vico County IN 17
Table 3. Children Under Six-Year-old With Both Parents Working 18
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 20
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Table 1. The Pro's and Con's of Building a Corporate Child Care Center
Table 2. Median Income for Families in the U.S. And in Vico County, IN Table 3. Children Under Six-Year-old With Both Parents Working
Table 4. Average Family Size in the U.S. And in Vico County, IN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
It is evident that a significant need exists at Harper Supply Company for some sort of assistance with child care. Applying the criteria found in the research for this report indicates that Harper Supply is not economically able to completely fund the construction of a child care facility. When evaluating other options, it appears that the two best choices are A) enabling a large child care to construct a facility on the Harper Supply Campus and making sure that Harper employees' children would always have places in the facility, while the other spots may be filled by external applicants or B) preparing some sort of tuition assistance program which would mean that for every dollar an employee put into a "child care fund," Harper's Supply would match the value of that dollar in some form.
Should Harper's Supply Company Provide Day Care?
The number of single parent families and families in which both parents work continues to increase. This has placed greater attention on the relationship between work and family environments and the consequences when employees attempt to balance work and family responsibilities. The rising cost of child care has forced many parents to turn to cheaper, less reliable child-care options. Stress related to care giving responsibilities can have a variety of negative impact on a worker's job performances including decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, increased turnover rate, and decreased job satisfaction.
The conditions which exist in child care at this time range sadly from 10% of child care providers actually endangering the lives and health of the children who stay there to others in which small children may spend as much as 70% of their day watching television (Massen-Draffin, 1995). Driving this overwhelming need for quality child care is the large number of mothers who have to work outside the home. The parents who are fortunate enough to have corporate child care as an option expect their children will receive higher quality care than they would in private daycare (Massen-Draffin, 1995).
Employers began to really see corporate child care as an employee option in the 1980's. It appeared that corporate child care would address the parent's dilemmas of finding safe, affordable child care and having access to their children during the work day. What the early pioneers of corporate child care did not expect was a road riddled with potholes and government red tape (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1995) making it extremely difficult to establish and keep a corporate child care center in operation.
Family friendly" corporations are defined as the ones who persevere and are able to establish a successful child care unit. The factors which make a business "family friendly" include: empowerment of employees to meet family responsibilities, sharing the fruits of productivity and growth fairly with its employees, refrains from assuming family responsibilities, putting long-term interests ahead of short-term goals, refraining from supporting anti-family causes, respecting the institution of marriage and cultivating a corporate culture which values family (Mattox, 1992).
This study will determine the current child-care needs for employees at Harper Supply Company and will also research the financial and social benefits of a company-sponsored child-care program.
There are several corporations who have been involved with successful employee child care since the early 1980's. Kindercare, Inc. through its division, www.kindercareatwork.comhas successfully helped many companies set up their child care ventures. To make sure that there will be sufficient thought given to the establishment of a child care program, kindercareatwork.com has guidelines which it insists that corporate executives follow during the preliminary fact-finding period of the process. Company size is always considered. Through very comprehensive research, it has been found that a company should have at least 750 employees to make an on-site child care program work. Available space is another factor which has to be determined. Kindercareatwork.com believes that there should be at least 65 square feet of interior feet per child and at least 65 square feet of exterior space per child. Another very important part of this "child care puzzle" is employee involvement. Employers should not assume that employees who have already made satisfactory child care arrangements should drop theirs and rush to enroll their children in corporate child care units.
Another business which has had positive results in corporate child care planning is Lego Creative Child Care Center. Lego received the accreditation of the National Association of Education for Young Children, which is a very difficult certification to attain. Gannett Publishing Company is one of the top grossing United States publishing companies and also one of the corporate child care pioneers. Gannett has been listed on Working Mother Magazine's top one hundred best companies for working mothers for 11 times in a row. It is really no surprise that Gannett's "bottom line" is in such good shape, since several studies have shown that a work environment which fosters happy employees is crucial to financial success (Lozada, 1997).
Not all companies have entered the child care race at full-speed with just the assumption that their efforts would be successful. Ford Motor Company, certainly not a "small business endeavor" spent a great deal of time surveying employees, researching options, and consulting with child care professionals before any action was taken. Even then, a pilot program was put into place at a subsidiary plant, North Penn facility of Electronics and Refrigeration, before any major changes were made (Lozada, 1997). Lisa Farnin, a manufacturing engineer and project leader at North Penn states, "We were trying to find out what made sense to our company - using common sense and good business sense. We tried really hard to look through what to propose and why it would work."
Another question in the child care conundrum is what happens when little Johnny or Susie is sick? If Johnny or Susie's mom is also an attorney who bills $250 an hour for her time, the senior partner of the firm will soon begin looking for "sick" child care. Of course, this type of care is only for a child who is "mildly ill" (to use the jargon of the industry) but enterprising child care entrepreneurs have taken this need and developed an entire industry from it. The National Association of Sick Child Daycare reports that there are currently approximately 350 "mildly ill" child day care centers in the country (LoJacono, 2001).Generally,…