Workplace childcare is the process when a parent carries his or her baby to work. Most employers and companies are in agreement with the practice when parents are allowed to carry babies to their offices. Most companies give duration when a child is mobile and/or when the child reaches 9 months old. These babies tote in baby swings and play with pens that are set to make shift nurseries. However, productivity specialists raise an eyebrow at the practice. They fear that it could lead to favoritism of parents. Some says it could lead to rivalry and misunderstanding at the workplace. The reason behind this is that workers who do not have their babies resent the perception of coddled working parents. This paper discusses the proven advantages of the workplace childcare. It also highlights some disadvantages of having workplace childcare.
The practice of having workplace childcare is mostly done by women. The reason behind this is clear. It happens because women are the ones who stay with infants immediately after birth. However, a report released by T3 shows that 10 fathers have participated in the activity. Most companies offer this service that is sometimes seen as health insurance cover. In some companies, toys that one parent has used are given to other new parents coming with their newborn babies (Connelly, 2004).
Reasons for Having Workplace Childcare
Most parents prefer going with their children to work rather than leaving them at home. They argue that bringing children to work usually saves them the anguish over leaving them with the house help or leaving them in daycares. Some parents opt to see their children grow right from the beginning. Most parents claim that they do not feel at peace when their newborn babies are not with them. They fear over the possibility of their child facing any danger. Hence, these parents choose to monitor their children’s growth. Other parents claim that when they have their children with them, they can never get in a bad mood. Parents who are likely to have foul moods often choose to carry their babies to work. It helps to minimize their woeful moods and fear of their children having any problems.
Need for On Ground Childcare
Financial and other limitations make many parents have full time working jobs. However, many families weigh the costs, monetary, and emotional weight of having childcare against the benefits of remaining employed. Some parents do have some financial calculations of having daycare for their children. There are many benefits of remaining employed and having your child at work. It helps one to stay in his or her career path. It also helps parents to keep up with advances in their professions. It also helps to meet up with other adults who are parents. They might give some tips on better help care for the child. Childcare is one of the most beneficial and valued workplace benefits for those families that have two working parents. (Spencer’s Benefits Report). “The report suggests that those families which have got two working parents at an all time job value work place child care as a significant and hugely valuable benefit in relieving employees’ concern” (Secret, 2005). It helps to increase the productivity of the employees and their presence at work. Having workplace childcare has both advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages that the workplace brings to both a parent and a child are discussed below.
Advantages of Having Workplace Childcare
It Is a Money Saving Activity of the Parent
Parents are often unable to take their young children to private care centers. It may be either because the place is filled up or there are charged high fees. These high fees may not be affordable to parents who have a low income bracket. In order for care centers to reach high insurance liability costs, they tend to increase their fees making it hardly affordable for parents . Offering childcare service in the workplace can help workers to have a secure and safe place to care for their children. In these places, they do not pay a dime or pay a jolly little fee that is affordable for them.
There Is Increased Productivity in the Companies
Workers who know that their young children are properly taken care of are able to have better concentration on their jobs. Companies that have childcare services in their workplace experience a significant difference in productivity. Employees who are proposed this service are found to be motivated. Hence, they have the ability to produce better results in their work. The Spencer’s Benefits Report shows that 90% of parents using full service centers had a praise of workplace care services. They said that access to a worksite care center positively affects the parents’ ability to concentrate successfully on the job and have a more productive result (Shellenback, 2004). It is reflected positively on the company’s performance and makes companies more lucrative. Parents who work close to their children have been found to be more aggressive in their work because this activity increases their morale.
There Is Usually an Early Return to Work for Mothers
Having workplace childcare services allows mothers to have an early return to work. After birth of a child, mothers who experience the benefits of the workplace childcare always return to work earlier than those who do not have these benefits. These mothers take the advantage that their children are close to them. Hence, they are able to take care of them now and then. It helps to increase the productivity of companies because mothers will be able to proceed with their work properly. It is compared to companies that will have to wait for the mother’s child reach nine months.
It Increases the Attendances of the Employees to Work
In workplaces with no childcare, there is a lot of absenteeism that is related with children. It can happen because very often parents have no idea where to keep their children. It mostly happens when schools are closed and parents as usual have to attend to work. In these companies, there is also a rise in cases of lateness. It happens when employees must take their children to childcares before work. They may end up being held in traffic jam while commuting during the morning rush hour. By providing childcare in the working place, the company will decrease the rates of absenteeism and lateness. Coming with the child to the working place will decline the time lost due to late work arrivals.
Enable Employers to Gain Wage Savings
Childcare at workplace helps the employers to gain savings. In the book Kids at Work: The Value of Employer-Sponsored On-site. Site Child Care Centers written by authors Deborah S. DeGraff, Rachel A. Willis, and Rachel Connelly, some employer sponsored childcare programs are studied. Having interviewed over 1000 employees, the research has found that on-site day care is affordable and also profitable. Researchers have estimated that there have been $150,000 and $250,000 savings in two firms that rendered on-site day care in wages (Sorensen, 2005).
It Helps to Increase the Bond between the Workers
As it is stated in the book Kids at Work: The Value of Employer-Sponsored On-site. Site Child Care Centers by Deborah S. DeGraff, Rachel A. Willis and Rachel Connelly, the majority of employees were willing to pay an average of $125 to $225 per year to reduce the onsite daycare funding. It happened no matter whether they had young children or not. Non-parents said that they would help since it would help to increase productivity and raise morale. “It should not be so unexpected that some people who collaborate together for more than five years should sometimes care about each other, and that translates into having a better economic behavior," Connelly says.
Children at Work It Is Good for Morale
Working in a place where you can see your child now and then increases the morale of the parent. In some companies with this service, another employee may watch over the baby if the parent has a business meeting. It may also have an effect on the baby. As Karissa Thacker, a psychologist in the field of management from New York, says “Space is essential as is having projects to occupy children. Without having an appropriate attention and care to the surrounding, the child is more likely to act badly”. It shows that when a child experiences external care apart from the one by his parent, it may grow better. Sue Thome-John says that a child being in a retail environment has an added advantage.
Disadvantages of Workplace Childcare Services
An employer may be a victim of liability for the welfare of children at workplace. It may be injuries or illness. The cases of liability increase if the company’s daycare services are not registered. Requirements for licensing and employer sponsorship for the licensed and experienced professions may be difficult to manage. If any case of liability arises, employees are most likely to put blame on the employer and the childcare worker. It is likely to destroy the relationship between the employer and the worker. It can be avoided by the company requiring the parent to sign a release of liability forms before they use the service.
Some parents consider having workplace childcare as a cheaper option than the one of the daycare service. However, childcare service may be relatively expensive for the employer. It can be attributed to the fact that companies that are not in the business of providing daycare services as their daily routine service have to spend money on this function. It can be extremely expensive for some employers to set up a childcare service, especially when they consider such factors as the cost of setting up new facilities. They also have to hire employees who have expertise in child development (Friedman, 2002). The employer has to monitor the insurance cost. The company is also required to maintain day-to-day operational services and expenses once the facility is set up and is running. It can be a significant investment of a company. If there is no financial stability in the company, it can bring financial stress to the company.
Another disadvantage of opening a childcare service is logistics. The employer has to find out whether there is enough space in the premises or whether it requires another building to be constructed. The employer still has to check whether there are sufficient funds to build it and whether it fits local zoning laws. Apart from simply looking at the physical space, the employer needs to consider state and local ordinances. It should also consider health laws and other relevant mandates involved into opening childcare centers. This logistics may also require a lot of manpower from primary objectives and organizational mission.
In order to run a daycare service in the workplace, one requires hiring stuff. It involves the company to advertise its positions. The company is also required to do license check, back ground checks, and all other requirements that may be necessary during the hiring process. The company may be forced to have dedicated employees or pay someone else to conduct the interviews and checks. The company may need to configure salaries in the expense portion of opening the daycare service. Individuals hired to cater for the childcare service eventually become employees for the company and need to be overseen.
Some researchers suggest that employers who offer childcare services in their centers have some employees with better performance. However, it can sometimes have an opposite effect. Having their children too close might sometimes tempt parents. They may come to the daycare centre just to see their children and spend time with them. It can be harmful to the productivity. It can be a constant source of interruptions at work.
Knowledge of Benefits
Employers who provide workplace daycare should choose someone in their human resources department who understands the implications of the employees’ benefits. These do not have to be childcare or child development experts. However, they should have a working understanding of challenges that are likely to be faced by the employer and employees in the service. An example of such a worker is an in-house benefit specialist whose competencies include tax matters related to the administration of dependent care accounts (Farnsworth, 2004). However, finding someone with class and specialized knowledge to handle onsite child care may be difficult.
Reduced Interaction between Colleagues
Having childcare in the workplace may reduce interaction of parents with other workers in the office. Some parents prefer staying and spending much time with their children. Some workers who do not have children \ are somehow envious of the parents who enjoy child care benefits. They resent such parents. It may have a negative impact on the company with a decrease in productivity.
Longer Working Hours
Bearing in mind that you do not need to get off from their workplaces early to pick up children, the employer might expect the worker to work more hours. It implies that the amount of time spent by child and mother together at home is reduced. Children may begin to feel that though the parents are not physically far away, they may not have enough time to spend with the child and if she or he does, they are tired and mostly irritable.
When some children get sick, some parents get off work to stay with them. However, when some parents discover that their children are not too ill, they may be tempted to bring them to the childcare facility at work. This is where they get to know that they can get in and check them if necessary. However, it can result in the illness being spread to other people around the office. It makes working colleagues have to take a sick leave. The disease could have been contained at home.
Reluctance to Rock the Boat
If the parent receives the childcare perk in order to gain a financial benefit, the employer might decide to take an advantage of the employee. The employee may want to hang on to the job as long as he or she can. It implies that employees might have to keep a job they do not like and work for people they do not like. They could be forced to do tasks they do not enjoy for a longer time than they should. If a parent has more than one child with an age gap between them, the reluctance to rock the boat may be a disadvantage to their mental health. (Farnsworth, 2004).
Health care service is a practice that many companies start embracing. The service has some advantages as well as disadvantages. Some advantages covered in the paper include having better productivity for the employer. It also helps to increase the bond between workers contributing to the productivity. This service helps the employees to gain wage savings and helps mothers to return to work early. The workplace health care helps workers to gain morale and have less concern about the well-being of a child. Workplace health care service also has some disadvantages. Some disadvantages covered in the paper include liability that the employer undergoes through and expenses that he/she might face. The service tends to reduce the bond between working hours and colleagues. The employer also seems to take advantage of the fact that parents will not leave the workplace early to pick the child. It leads to the situation when the employer is overworked.