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Care@Work / Care@Work Blog / The Cost of Care is Impacting Employees' Careers

The Cost of Care is Impacting Employees' Careers

Patrick Ball on August 08, 2016 09:54 AM

The fight for today’s top young talent is fierce, to be sure. From tech to finance to retail, industry leaders are crafting recruiting and retention strategies to reel in rockstars and protect high performers from poachers.

In this competitive job market, you need  value proposition that appeals to the whole employee – not just his or her wallet. When you can make a difference in your employees’ lives, you’re rewarded with loyalty, engagement and improved productivity. 

Nearly two-thirds of working parents admit child care costs influence their career decisions and roughly three-quarters say their job has been impacted by child care, but less than half say their employer seems to care about their child care needs. An overwhelming 81 percent of working parents say their employer doesn't offer any type of child care benefits, but a full 83 percent say they wish they did. 

That's why so many of the employers identified as the best places to work offer family-care benefits, like paid parental leave and backup child care.They understand an investment in your employees' families is an investment in your organization's future. And the data continues to bear this out.’s fifth annual Cost of Care report shows the myriad ways child care impacts the lives of American families, covering a range of topics from household budgets to work-life challenges.  

Roughly one-third of the families we surveyed spend over 20 percent of their household income on child care. It’s easy to see why so many are struggling to balance care and work.

  • 77 percent of parents say they didn't anticipate the cost of child care would influence their career decisions, but 63 percent say they did
  • 81 percent of respondents said their employer offers no child care benefits, and 83 percent say they wish they did
  • 72 percent of parents say their job has been impacted because child care has fallen through.

To compete for and retain today’s best young talent – which includes moms, dads and folks thinking about becoming parents – modern companies must address parents’ needs with family care benefits as basic table stakes. It’s what employees need, it's what they expect ... and they're not afraid to look elsewhere for it. 

“The 2018 Cost of Care Survey clearly shows more and more working parents are realizing that child care costs have a substantial impact on their careers,” said Alyssa Johnson, vice president of Global Account Management for Care@Work,’s enterprise solution helping companies support working families. “The reality is that while child care needs are unpredictable, the impact on a business is not. When care breaks down, people miss work. They can’t focus and they leave jobs. The employers we’ve worked with realize that in order to maintain an engaged, productive workforce they need to provide care support to their working parents, which in turn significantly influences a company’s overall performance and bottom-line results.”

Care@Work’s Better Benefits survey found more than 60 percent of employees would leave a job for one with better family-care benefits. That number jumps to 83 percent among Millennials. The research also found 90 percent of employees have left work, and 30 percent have cut back by 6 or more hours per week due to family responsibilities.

As the way we work and live evolves, it’s vital that the way we support employees does as well. It’s important that family-care benefits reflect the way today’s parents work – they need to provide flexible, on-demand options to meet their child care needs when, how and where they want.

In the Cost of Care survey, we asked working parents what happens when their child care plans fall through. 

  • 67 percent of respondents use a sick day
  • 56 percent had to come in late
  • 39 percent have used a vacation day 
  • 26 percent fell behind on work. 

Now what if they had employer-provided family-care benefits that were easily accessible from a desktop or mobile app? Employees with backup care through Care@Work are able to work six additional hours a week and six additional days per year thanks to in-home and center-based options when those unexpected care needs arise. 

When an employees care needs go unaddressed, it can build into significant issues. Care-related absenteeism, presenteeism and churn cost American businesses billions every year in lost productivity costs. The thing is -- it's preventable. 

When business leaders are able to demonstrate they understand the juggling act of trying to balance work and family by offering like subsidized backup care or resource and referral benefits, it makes a positive impact that permeates throughout the organization. The return on investment is realized through improving retention, reducing absenteeism and ultimately boosting the bottom line.