Submitted by: Lizette Egea-Hinton/Program Officer, Early Childhood Education/Public Health Management Corporation

High quality early childhood education is critical to support the growth and development of young children (particularly those at risk), ensure school readiness and success, and to support a robust and engaged work force. In Philadelphia, there is an inadequate supply of high quality childcare that is affordable to working and low income families. In Pennsylvania, the cost of infant childcare is 43% of the median income for a single mother family. In addition to supporting child and family outcomes, research indicates that there are additional benefits to employers for participating in the childcare market.

Studies have shown that 31% of employees that are parents have considered leaving their employer due to child care issues (Bright Horizons Child Care Trends, 2002) and 80% of employers reported that childcare problems force employees to lose work time (Bond, Galinksy, and Swanbert). Employer Supported Childcare benefits Employers, Employees and Children. It benefits Employers by creating a sustainable and socially progressive Employee Benefit with a positive return on investment; increases recruitment and retention; increases employee reliability and productivity; and maintains employee satisfaction and engagement. Employer Supported Childcare benefits Employees by increasing the availability and affordability of high quality childcare; and children by preparing them for educational success in kindergarten and beyond.

Offering some type of Employer Supported Childcare benefit demonstrates an Employer’s commitment to children, families and the community. The Bureau of National Affairs surveyed 691 employees whose children attended company operated or sponsored childcare and found that 63% had a more positive attitude about their company; 69% were encouraged to stay at their company; and 38% selected their company because of the childcare programs the company offered.

Despite an annual expenditure of over $300 million for childcare subsidy each year in Philadelphia, few employers are aware of how important childcare is to their workforce. There are many ways that employers can support the childcare decisions of their staff; from simple and cost-neutral activities including information sharing, to relatively inexpensive strategies including payroll deductions and convenience payments for care, to providing employer subsidies for care. Public Health Management Corporation’s Early Childhood Education Group, with funding from the William Penn Foundation, and in collaboration with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and the Economy League of Philadelphia, consults with organizations in Philadelphia to determine the childcare benefit that will be most suitable for their employer and employee needs. Through this project, we are able to provide resources to employers to assess their organizational readiness to implement a childcare benefit, and needs of their employee base.

To find out more information about the Employer Supported Childcare Project and how your organization can participate, please contact Lizette Egea-Hinton at 215-985-6880 or legeahinto@phmc