Corporate Solutions : By providing programs that allow employees to care for their families, you can position your organization as an employer of choice, as well as generate a powerful return on investment. By driving down turnover, reducing absenteeism, and increasing productivity on the job, employers find that their dependent care and work/life programs are not only an investment in their employees, but also an investment in their future business success.
Below are findings from several studies that have measured the affects of employer-sponsored dependent care on our clients.
Issues Faced by Working Parents in India
Changing Family Structure
There are significant societal barriers that inhibit educated mothers from joining the workforce, remaining in the workforce after the birth or adoption of a child, or working to their full potential. The demand for jobs is primarily in urban centers, requiring many workers to relocate to these areas. This has created a generation of “nuclear” families as opposed to the more traditional “joint” families in India (where young couples live with one set of parents). This influx of people to the urban centers has driven up the cost of housing, making it more difficult for young families to afford a home on one salary. Thus, working mothers face significant competing demands: the need to help financially support their family while often having little or no extended family support to assist with child care so they can work outside the home. In addition, fathers want a strong desire to have more time with their children and contribute in a meaningful way to the family beyond their financial contribution.
Supply of Child Care
Grandparents are still a primary form of child care used by working parents in India.
However, the availability of grandparents as long-term caregivers is declining because they are more likely to live far from their children due to job locations, may still be working themselves, and/or have their own interests to pursue. Parents worry that their aging parents are unable to engage with their child in ways that would be enriching to the child both physically and intellectually. Yet, given these issues, it is common that grandparents (particularly grandmothers) will travel and stay with their children to help care for an infant during at least the first three to six months after birth. Therefore, it is after this age that many parents need to utilize care beyond their immediate family.
Seemingly as common as the use of grandparent support is the use of domestic
help, or maids, as primary caregivers. Domestic help is inexpensive and commonly used by most middle- class working families. Maids, typically from less-developed areas of the country, may not know the local language, are usually poorly educated, and often prove to be unreliable. The primary job of a maid is to take care of domestic duties in the home. These women do not have child care training. There are several issues with relying on domestic help for child care, including maids’ lack of education around safe hygiene standards and difficulty imparting information given language issues. Finally, the reliability of maids coming to work is an ongoing issue. These young women either find other opportunities and/or have their own family responsibilities they need to attend to in another part of the country, causing them to leave with little or no notice.
Driving Down Turnover
Retention of key employees is as critical to an Indian organization’s success as to any similar organization in the U.S. or Europe. The impact is felt when trained and experienced managers leave to have or raise children. Arranged marriages remain a factor in India; most women are marrying in their managerial ranks or taking on leadership roles. In addition, employees’ parents and in-laws often hold significant influence over career and work decisions for both men and women.
The provision of work/life supports helps a company present itself as an institution that cares about the overall welfare of its employees and can help mitigate family pressure for an employee to stay home or alter their work patterns due to the addition of a child to the family.
90 percent of parents using Day Care centers say that access to work-site child care positively impacts their ability to successfully concentrate on the job and be productive.
86 percent of employees whom we have a corporate tie up with reported that in the previous six months, back-up care enabled them to work on a day they otherwise would not have been able to; on average, back-up care enabled them to work four days during that time.
Unscheduled absenteeism costs employers at least Rs. 50,000 per employee per year. Family issues account for 21 percent of all unscheduled absences – the second leading cause after personal illness. ***
Fifty-nine percent of employees or their spouses missed work in the last year due to breakdowns in child or elder care and of these employees nearly 60 percent were out for three to 10 days.****
For every Rs. 1 invested in back-up care programs, employers can experience a return of Rs. 2-4 in reduced absenteeism and improved productivity.*****
Senior leaders feel child care issues are affecting employees’ productivity at work due to breakdowns associated with unreliable care and/or concerns about less-than-desirable care options. Parents spend a significant amount of time on the phone checking in on their child’s caregiver to make sure their child has been fed, is safe, has had his or her diaper changed, etc. This dramatically decreases parents’ productivity, and the unreliability of their care causes unexpected work absences that affect their short-term productivity and long-term career growth. Perhaps one of the greatest hidden costs to employers from employees’ child care issues is the dramatic impact these issues can have on working mothers’ ability to work to their full potential, take on more responsibility, and ultimately advance in their organizations – simply, their ability to fully contribute to their organizations’ success
Many fathers also missed work due to child care breakdowns, supporting the view that child care is more than just a women’s issue. For senior leaders, this also compounds the economic implications for employers caused by the absence of reliable child care, particularly as more dual-income families emerge in the workforce.
A recent YKROK investment impact study of a sampling of our clients showed:
A nearly 50 percent reduction in voluntary turnover of employees who use their employer-sponsored child care centers. (Highly customized programs saw a reduction of 80 percent in voluntary turnover.
Child care center users comprised a much higher percentage of the organizations’ top performers as compared to the general workforce population. In addition, the participating companies retained 97 percent of the top performers who used the child care center. The impact of these child care centers translated into an aggregate savings of millions of dollars in replacement costs for these organizations.
Employer of Choice
Ninety-one percent of employees, including employees without children, feel that work-site child care would have a positive impact on the organization for which they work.
HR Leadership Feedback
“The reputation value [of a child care center] would be quite high. Our clients would see us as an employer of choice. A place where the employees are more committed and motivated. It would be a differentiator setting us apart from our competitors.”
“Business is affected because you train/invest in people and then they leave [to raise a child] just when you can recoup the fruits of your investment. Then we have to re-invest, which is costly.”
“We are aiming toward creating an ’employer of choice’ image. Child care is an important factor in creating that image.”