Today women are almost 50% of the American workforce and childcare needs have to be taken into consideration more than ever. If you are lucky, your employer may offer you a workplace daycare center for your child. Some companies even allow babies up to 6 months to be in the office, next to the mother's desk. Even fathers have been known to bring a baby to work, and of course any workplace nursery or baby at work scheme should be equally available to both men and women.
Babies At Work
One advantage of a 'baby at work' scheme to the company is that it increases employee loyalty. Wearing your baby in a carry sling on your front or back, or having your baby in a bassinet by the side of your desk, means you can go back to work earlier. And by having your baby at work you can continue breast feeding without having to pump breast milk. However, while having a baby alongside your desk may work in the short term, or in an emergency situation, it is usually too distracting for both parents and their co-workers in the long term unless special provisions are made. Care must be also be taken not to contravene the company's health and safety regulations. The Parenting In The Workplace Institute has helped companies all over the country to set up to set up suitable Babies At Work Programs.
On-site Day Care
Often a better long-term solution for both the company and the employee is to have an on-site daycare center. This is something that is promoted by many organizations worldwide and in the United States, for example, the Department of Labor offers onsite day-care centers for many of its employees.
For most companies the advantages of offering on-site childcare as an employee benefit more than outweigh the costs involved. A company is able to recruit and retain well trained staff and there is better employee morale overall. There are also lower rates of absenteeism as parents don't need to take time off work if a child has a slight touch of the sniffles. And if your child is in a daycare center on the premises you can easily pop in and check up during your coffee or lunch break.
And it doesn't have to be just white collar workers that benefit. Some 24 hour businesses like factories or health care providers even offer 24 hour workplace care for their employees' children so that shift workers can bring their children to sleep at the workplace nursery. However, having on-site day care isn't a solution for everybody's childcare needs, especially if you have a long commute.
In 2009 First Lady Michelle Obama urged employers at the "Corporate Voices For Working Families" annual meeting in Washington, D.C "...to discuss quality on-site childcare... This isn't just about family balance. This is about making workplaces stronger and more effective and keeping and attracting the most qualified people.'' So for employers who want to recruit and retain valuable staff, offering workplace daycare facilities can be an ideal way to improve employee benefit packages in this economic climate.
A new report by Bright Horizons in conjunction with Dr. Jamie Ladge of Northeastern University "Healthy Employees, Healthy Organizations" illustrates the benefits of having employer sponsored on-site childcare and other family care supports.