How Parents Get Employers to Offer Childcare Support

Childcare coverage may not cost employers a dime

Father dropping toddler son off at daycare
Getty Images/PhotoAlto/Sandro Di Carlo Darsa

Working parents often want to know if it's possible to get their employers to cover the cost of childcare. While it may be daunting to pose such a request to an employer, many businesses do cover or supplement childcare fees.

In short, employers can positively affect the cost of childcare for workers, but sometimes it takes a nudge to get them started. Employers reap the benefit of having more dedicated employees if they extend a helping hand financially, and it doesn't even have to cost businesses anything in return.


Childcare Support Working Parents Can Request From Employers

Before you ask employers for support, be sure to first know and understand what your company may already offer in terms of childcare benefits. Start by scheduling a meeting with a human resources representative. On the other hand, if you are searching for a job, look for perks such as on-site care or arrangements for extended hours. Some companies may offer subsidies instead.

A request that many employers are all-too-willing to consider is to arrange for bulk discount rates, typically at a local branch of a regional or national childcare center. If there is a center near to your workplace, call and find out how many employees may already be utilizing their childcare services. If it is more than a few, ask your employer to call and negotiate a group or corporate discount. (Many childcare centers are very willing to make these types of arrangements.)

Subsidized Childcare Costs

Another request is for employers to help pay for childcare during extended hours or during requested overtime situations. Some businesses will offer to pay for all childcare fees or some of them when requested (certainly, conditions or terms would apply), when an employee needs to utilize an after-hours childcare facility such as drop-in care to meet a work-related need.

If not, why not at least ask?

Flexible Spending Accounts

Finally, check to see if your employer offers flexible spending accounts (these are tax-free incentives for childcare). If your company has such an account, be sure to use it. If not, ask your employer to add the benefit.

Wrapping Up

It's important to proceed with caution when asking an employer to help subsidize childcare costs. Working parents shouldn't demand such services but demonstrate to their companies how meeting the childcare needs of employees allow them to perform better at work, or even work longer hours. All in all, working parents should assume businesses are most concerned about their bottom line. By showing an employer how subsidizing childcare for working parents benefits the business, employers may be more likely to meet the childcare needs of workers.