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Options for Employer Supported Child Care

Direct Provision of Child Care

On-site Child Care Center

  • It is a major commitment for a company to develop its own center. Employers should plan to conduct a feasibility study and needs assessment. Hiring a good child care consultant at this point is an essential investment.

Consortium Programs

  • Two or more companies which may want to open their own centers might find it more feasible to work together in developing a center. Consortiums have also been used to provide sick/emergency child care.

Reserved Spaces

  • Reserved spaces (paid or partially paid by the employer) in local centers or family child care homes may be more feasible than trying to develop new programs.

Financial Assistance

Flexible Benefit Plans

  • These are also known as cafeteria plans. They allow employees to choose from a menu of taxable and non-taxable benefits which best suit their individual needs such as medical or life insurance, or child care. Usually employers establish the maximum dollar amount which they will contribute to each employee’s benefit package.

Dependent Care Assistance Plans (DCAP)

  • DCAPs are salary set-aside plans which allow employees to set up a pre-tax account from which they pay for child care. They may or may not be a part of cafeteria plans.

Child Care Subsidies

  • The employer assists in paying employee’s child care fees, usually in the child care of the family’s choice. This can take the form of direct reimbursement to the employee, payment to the provider through vouchers, scholarships or the purchase of reserved spaces for children.

Supporting or Creating Service

Community Contributions

  • Donations of money, goods or services can significantly improve the quality of programs in your community and/or lower the cost of care. These donations can be linked to special considerations for the company’s employees.

Sick Child Care Services

  • Companies may decide to provide a subsidy to help pay for the care of sick children or establish a program for sick children (either by organizing a site for the care or hiring workers to go into the family’s home when there is an illness). Companies may want to broaden their vision to consider a wider range of emergency situations such as overtime, conferences, or an illness of a child care provider.

Family Day Care Networks

  • There are several ways companies can work with the family day care providers in their area: recruit and train new providers near the company, supply support services, contract with or organize a network of family day care homes.

Information and Counseling Services

Child Care Resource
and Referral

  • A company can contract with a child care resource and referral agency to inform parents about available child care and provide counseling on how to select child care.

Time Off to Look for Child Care

  • Some companies recognize that looking for and selecting satisfactory child care is a complex, time consuming job. Release time to do that job effectively can be a valuable benefit.

Flexible Work Policies

Flexible Scheduling

  • Companies provide working hours which meet the various and changing needs of their employees. Some examples: Staggered starting and quitting times around certain core hours; compressed work week in which employees work longer hours per day; a formalized plan for making up time lost to emergencies.

Flexiplace

  • Employees work off-site part or all of their work week. Paying employees for their function instead of their time can also work for some companies.

Dependent Care Leave

  • Companies are recognizing that there are many family situations that require an employee to devote full time to another family member for a period of time – birth or adoption of an infant, a medical emergency, or a debilitating illness of an older parent. Leaves with job security – with or without pay – are a way to retain valuable employees.

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