Childcare in the working environment

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The traditional family of a working father and a stay-at-home mother scenario is fast changing as more and more women are also joining the work force.  This means that increasing numbers of employees are working parents who must find ways to cope with the often conflicting time demands of both work and childcare.  It is a serious concern for employees and has a direct impact on the businesses.

There are two reasons why businesses should also be concerned and are as follows:

  • Firstly, problems with child care can adversely affect the job performance of working parents by increasing absenteeism, tardiness, turnover rates and recruiting and training costs.  These in turn, can adversely affect productivity and work quality and ultimately the competitiveness of the businesses that employ these workers.

  • Secondly, in the past such problems with childcare would be of little concern of employers since few employees were affected and there always seems to be other workers willing to take the place of those that quit.  But the labour market today and into the foreseeable future is radically different.

Apart from the above, human resources studies had shown that work-family programs and benefits may have an impact on employee recruitment and retention.  Based on the above, employers should consider providing childcare facilities for the employees.  Balancing work-life commitments is a key challenge for both employees and employers.  Employers who play a role in helping their employees benefits enormously through:

  • Wider recruitment pool – With more and more women are set to enter the workforce, many of them are parents.  In order to work, parents have to find suitable childcare.  Help with childcare will mean you will have an edge over other employers when it comes to recruiting the best people.  Childcare is becoming more an issue for men, too, as parents share the responsibilities for childcare between them.
  • Skill shortages – Employers, who can offer that bit more in terms of employee welfare, are going to have advantage when it comes to recruiting for hard to fill vacancies.
  • Higher retention rates and reduced recruitment costs as replacing of employees is costly.  This would also encourage women to return to work after maternity leave.
  • Reduced absenteeism and increased productivity – Absenteeism and sick leaves due to stress and childcare concerns could be reduced as they will be able to focus and committed to their work which would increase productivity when childcare issues are taken care off.
  • Greatly loyalty – Employees are more likely to “go the extra mile” of they feel their employer helps them with their concerns.  This results in increased motivation, productivity and low staff turnover.
  • Enhance company image – Good public relations benefits an employer in several ways: it will promote products and services, improve recruitment and help nurture goodwill within the community in which the business operates.
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Nevertheless, there is also the argument that employers should not necessarily provide childcare.  The reasons for this stand are as follows:

  • The employers have already providing medical and other benefits for the employees and their families.  Additional cost need to be incurred to hire staff to manage the nurseries.
  • There are various rules and regulations relating to childcare in terms of setting the nurseries that need to be observed and it can be cumbersome.  Non compliance would expose the employer to possible fine by the authority and litigation by the employees themselves.
  • There is also the practical ...

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