How Many Employees Does a Company Need Before They Should Start Offering Childcare Benefits?

So you run a business with 20 employees and want to sponsor childcare? Great! What about 200 workers? Sure. 2,000? Sounds good. 20,000 or more? Perfect.

Every organization is unique. The desire to support employees, set them up for success, and grow the business, on the other hand, is pretty uniform.

The beauty of employee childcare benefits is the positive impact for both working families and the companies that employ them.

Interested in adding childcare benefits but wondering how many employees you need to get started? The truth is any number of employees is the right number of employees to begin providing an employer-sponsored childcare benefits program for your workforce.

Whether you are a small business, medium-sized organization, or large company, providing childcare benefits for employees is a cost-effective way to support your working parents. Simultaneously, it’s an opportunity to tackle organizational challenges on multiple fronts efficiently.

Drop us a line at Upwards to learn more about how an employee childcare benefits program can benefit your business.

Why do employers offer employee childcare benefits?

The reasons to provide childcare benefits for employees are both plentiful and practical, with outcomes proving to be a win-win for both sides. Employees increasingly demand support from employer-sponsored childcare benefits and organizations are seeing the rewards in fulfilling this need.

The HR arguments for adding employee childcare benefits include:

  • Reducing absenteeism: It’s no secret that addressing employee absenteeism is a high priority for employers and HR managers. It just so happens that a lack of reliable, affordable childcare leads to absenteeism and accompanying lost productivity. Supporting working parents with a childcare benefits program can help alleviate your organization’s absenteeism issues.
  • Retaining talent: Like absenteeism, employee retention has been a key focus for many employers, with stiff competition to keep talent becoming the norm in most industries. This has been especially true during the pandemic and the Great Resignation. Fortunately, a comprehensive employee childcare benefits program can improve the retention challenges you’re experiencing.
  • Hiring competitively: As HR professionals know better than anyone, hiring is an ongoing process and crucial to the success of any organization. To better compete in a crowded market, more and more employers are turning to expanded care benefits to attract new talent. The future of work is upon all of us, and one day soon, employee childcare benefits might just be as common as the 401k.

The human reasons are compelling, too, such as:

  • Families matter: Your employees and colleagues become your work family, and they have actual families at home that they’re supporting. For your workforce and the entire organization to grow, your working families need to thrive and feel supported. Childcare benefits for employees are an impactful way to show families how much they matter to you.
  • Happy employees = happy employers: If your employees report high job satisfaction and good morale, you will reap the rewards as an employer with a more productive, efficient workforce. One important way to make and keep team members happy is to support them with employer childcare benefits.

Childcare benefits for small to medium-sized employers

Let’s say you’re not operating a large corporation and are interested in exploring options to expand your employee benefits to include childcare.

If you’re a small to medium-sized business, you still definitely have options to implement employer-sponsored childcare benefits. As mentioned earlier, any number of employees is the right amount to start a childcare benefits program.

  • Childcare assistance: Deciding to add employee childcare benefits is a consequential decision, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated one. Upwards offers a childcare assistance program that can be the baseline of any childcare benefits provided by employers. Upwards’ Childcare Assistance gives your employees a dedicated care manager to help them find a high-quality, affordable childcare provider for their family. With 24/7 communication available, access to Upwards’ vast network of caregivers nationwide, enrollment assistance, and ongoing support, your working families will know that you’re going the extra mile to support their childcare needs.
  • Pay per employee: What if you could only pay for those employees who have children and need help with childcare? That possibility opens up a different economic model for employer-sponsored childcare benefits that could better suit small to medium-sized organizations.

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

Childcare benefits for medium to large-sized organizations

For medium to large-sized employers, there are many ways to structure childcare benefits for employees. Options include childcare assistance, a stipend program, and backup care. However you choose to customize your care offerings, your working families will appreciate their new standard of childcare benefits.

  • Standard childcare benefits: In addition to a core childcare assistance program, your organization may be interested in mixing and matching other childcare benefits that best fit your employees’ needs. Upwards has full and partial childcare stipend programs so you can help offset the cost of childcare for your working families. The monthly or annual amount of the stipend can be set at a number that makes the most sense for you. We have seen increasing demand for emergency/backup care to help families when their regular childcare plans change at the last minute. Employers can provide a specified number of backup care credits for employees to ensure their child is cared for when the unexpected arises.
  • Volume discounts: If you have many employees, you might be able to take advantage of a childcare benefits discount based on volume. Since it is more efficient to scale up programs for larger organizations, the price per employee is lower and the resulting savings/ROI is even more significant.
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

How to offer employee childcare benefits

Wondering how you can start offering childcare benefits for employees? One of the first steps is gathering information about your workforce to determine what working families need most regarding childcare. That will help you decide on the best program to impact the most.

Upwards can help you make a detailed assessment that will inform the process and offer insights that will lead to a successful childcare benefits rollout.

Getting started is easy and can be accomplished by visiting our site for more information, sending us a quick email to start the conversation, or scheduling a demo with our team.

We can be reached any time at

We’re here for you when you’re ready to support your growing business and help your employees thrive along the way.


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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