Three reasons to subsidize childcare

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Marissa Mayer is Yahoo’s first female CEO, but almost as many headlines are about her pregnancy as her new role. Mayer may have the income and family support to have few concerns about balancing family and work, but few mothers have as easy a time.

A study from online community Mumsnet shows a third of mothers have considered quitting work because of childcare costs, and one in 10 has left a job or turned down a job offer because of the cost of a babysitter or daycare.

Half of those surveyed wanted employers to increase their contribution to the cost, and three-quarters said the government should do more.

There are clear reasons for workers to want free or subsidized childcare – but what about advantages for a company?

  1. It opens up the talent pool

    A Bowdoin study which looked at on-site childcare in companies with 300- 400 staff found companies were able to attract and retain staff who it would have otherwise struggled to retain. As the talent pool shrinks these advantages could be make or break for companies needing staff.

     
  2. Even employees without kids appreciate it
    "I was impressed with the near universality of positive feeling workers showed about working for a company that had a childcare center," Bowdoin researcher Rachel Connelly said. "They liked the idea that their company took care of the person who worked down the row from them.”

     
  3. Employees are willing to compromise on other benefits and pay
    Six out of 10 mothers in the Mumsnet survey said that they would accept fewer benefits if childcare provisions were made free or more affordable. Connelly’s study also found that even workers without children would be willing to pay up to $225 a year to support a childcare centre. In fact, compared to similar companies without these programs, the workplaces with on-site daycare saved about $200,000 a year in wages.
     

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