Absenteeism Is Employers’ #1 Challenge — 2023 Childcare Benefits Forecast

2021 and 2022 were years of change for many of us. Whether it was transitioning to a new job, having a child, or further adapting to remote work, we collectively took on countless challenges and added responsibilities to our plate. Organizations around the country have had to adjust as well, with more and more employers opting to consider adding childcare as a benefit for their workforce.

In fact, the spike in interest we saw during 2021 and 2022 is leading to substantial growth in 2022, with 42% of employers planning to either expand existing benefit programs to include childcare or add new childcare benefits for their employees moving forward.

As organizations and their employees navigated the complex push-pull of working remotely and a potential return to the office throughout 2021 and 2022, the needs of working families became painstakingly clear for everyone involved. This is why flexible scheduling and backup care have been top of mind for HR managers and benefits professionals looking to incorporate childcare benefit programs for their teams.

Why are employee childcare benefits critical in 2023?

There are a number of reasons that motivate organizations to think about a childcare benefits program, from retention and general wellbeing to productivity and recruitment. All of these pain points do not carry equal weight, however.

Upwards surveyed nearly 2,000 employers to rank the reasons why they are considering adding a childcare benefits program. The challenges HR leaders are looking to solve by implementing a childcare benefits program are:

  1. Absenteeism
  2. Retention
  3. Recruitment
  4. General well-being and support
  5. Support hybrid work model
  6. Lack of supply of childcare in the area
  7. Differentiate themselves
  8. Productivity

With absenteeism, retention, and recruitment being the three leading challenges organizations are aiming to tackle, Upwards sees massive growth potential for childcare benefit programs in 2023. 81% of the employers surveyed by Upwards also had no childcare benefit program in place for employees yet, but were beginning their search. In the coming year, our team expects more and more decision makers to opt to add these new benefit programs to enhance their current offerings.

What happens to companies that don’t offer childcare benefits?

The big question many employers still ask themselves is, “What are we really losing by not having childcare benefits?” To answer that, let’s consider an organization with 1,000 employees and no childcare benefits program in place. With an average wage of $20/hour and parents comprising 30% of the workforce, absenteeism is causing 300 parents to miss 9 additional days a year, which results in a $432,000 annual hit to the company in lost productivity. As you can see, the losses quickly add up and offering even a modest childcare benefits program provides a considerable boost to the bottom line in the form of added productivity.

As an unpredictable year played itself out, 2021 and 2022 saw a surge of interest from organizations around the U.S. looking to provide childcare benefits to their workforces. With the pandemic still going on in one form or another and many workers’ job situations in flux, having flexible childcare arrangements and backup care took on even greater importance in everyday Americans’ lives.

As we look ahead to what 2023 will bring, the childcare benefit landscape appears extremely promising as more and more organizations realize the need for this benefit and the positive impacts that bolstering childcare for their employees will have on their bottom line.

Employers seeking further information about employee childcare benefit programs for 2023 can start here.

Related Articles