How Can Organizations Begin Offering Childcare Benefits?

As an employer or HR decision-maker, the process of adding childcare to an employee’s benefits package can sometimes feel like a daunting task. But to ensure your employees feel appreciated and supported by offering a childcare benefits program, you’ll increase morale and keep workers at your organization for longer. The good news is some tips and tricks can help organizations looking to offer this benefit, and we’ll walk you through the process, step by step.

Although there are many benefit options available (and childcare can be a complex issue!) adding childcare benefits for your employees is actually easier than most expect.

Feel free to reach out to our Upwards team at any time with your employer-sponsored childcare benefits questions and comments.

There are compelling reasons for small businesses, mid-size organizations, and large companies to provide comprehensive childcare benefits for employees.

Offering employee childcare benefits: Where to begin?

Like most projects you start, determining the most efficient path is important when exploring a new employee benefits program.

The first step for childcare benefits is identifying where your employees are located and where care is needed. If your workforce is remote, a neighborhood-based childcare approach will likely be needed to provide coverage in a variety of locations.

Many employees prefer to find childcare solutions close to home, with neighborhood-specific care being a great option for employers to consider for their teams.

If your workforce is based out of a central location that will serve as the epicenter of care, you may make different considerations. This will inform which network you opt to go with and what type of care your organization will use the most.

Finding flexible childcare that works for employees

Once you’ve established the location and care setting needed, the next step is finding a benefits program with a flexible, robust childcare network. This is very important as the network should cater to the needs of many different families.

Take childcare centers as one prime example. Most centers are only open around the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — which isn’t convenient for families and simply doesn’t get the job done for most working parents. This is true for workers with fairly traditional hours and even more so for employees who work any type of 2nd, 3rd, and overnight shifts.

A flexible childcare benefits program, with multiple options that can be customized to best fit working families, will be the most impactful for your workforce.

When incorporating childcare benefits for employees, you’ll want to offer care options that parents want and will actually use in order to maintain a high utilization rate.

What childcare benefits options do employers have?

Your next order of business is figuring out what kind of support you want to start offering your employees. It’s usually preferable to begin with the basics, as adding more options later on is always available.

Some of the most common care benefits that companies offer include:

  • Childcare assistance: This program helps employees find quality, affordable childcare that fits their families’ needs. We’ve covered childcare assistance in-depth, however in a nutshell this offering is a great place to start supporting working families by providing a dedicated expert who helps with setting up tours and caregiver interviews, enrollment, getting started with care, and ongoing support during care.
  • Tuition support: This option builds on childcare assistance and includes full and partial childcare stipend programs that pay for all or a portion of care expenses. Tuition support programs can be customized to best meet the needs of your working parents.
  • Backup care: An increasingly urgent and timely offering, backup care provides families with reliable drop-in care for emergencies and last-minute scheduling conflicts. Without dependable backup childcare, many parents will need to miss either a portion of their workday or full days of work in order to care for their kids.
  • Tutors: Families with school-age children may not need the same kind of childcare as those with little ones. A tutor may just fit the bill perfectly for these parents.

Whichever care benefit you ultimately select, it’s good to remember that you can pivot as needed later on. Your working families will appreciate the added support that any childcare benefit program provides.

Getting started with employee childcare benefits is easy: identify where care is needed, find a flexible childcare network, and decide on a level of support.

Launch your new childcare benefits program

Once you’ve settled on the best employee childcare benefits program for your workforce, it’s time to schedule the launch. Even the most robust childcare benefits need to be announced and communicated properly to be maximally effective.

When rolling out your new program, make sure that all employees receive detailed information. They should be able to clearly understand what the benefits are, which features are available, and how to utilize them.

Team members with childcare needs may be very excited about their new benefits and look to use them right away!

Want to learn about Upwards' Childcare Benefits?
Childcare AssistanceBackup CareChildcare Stipends
Dedicated care manager to provide 24/7 concierge supportEmergency childcare when regular care falls throughOffset the cost of childcare-related expenses for employees

Upwards can get you started with employee childcare benefits

Upwards is the largest childcare network in America and a market leader in employer-sponsored childcare benefits. Our childcare network is made up of over 60,000 small childcare providers.

These qualified, vetted caregivers offer affordable, high-quality childcare options that working families need. Small class sizes, flexible scheduling, and the ability to provide care for school-aged kids are some of the features of our network.

Upwards can launch a childcare benefits program in as little as two weeks but will work on your timeline to set everything live on the best date for your business. Our team is here to support you at every step along the way.

We’ll continue to talk about more employee childcare benefit topics that can help you and your employees. Schedule a call with our expert team when you’d like to learn more.


The largest childcare network in the United States, providing access to quality, affordable childcare to families nationwide. We support childcare providers in operating sustainable businesses through a technology-based marketplace and partner with government entities to improve access to care. Upwards also helps employers of all sizes offer their employees childcare benefits. Our mission is to help all families care for their children — not just those who can afford it.

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