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More employers look to add child care benefits

More employers look to add child care benefits, see employee need
Posted at 3:22 PM, Jun 13, 2022

Dr. Bronner's is a company that saw a need beyond the soap it sells.

It offers a benefit for workers like Bri Dwight.

“I actually applied to Dr. Bronner’s when I was pregnant because I saw that they covered half of child care,” said Bri Dwight, a sales representative at Dr. Bronner’s. “I knew I wouldn't make it without child care support.”

She got the job.

Beforehand, she was working full-time and teaching 16 yoga classes a week.

“Even with all of that, as a single-income person, it was such a stress and unrealistic to have my daughter in child care,” she said.

The stress of child care is something Lilia Vergara, director of human resources at Dr. Bronner's, heard a lot when asking their more than 300 employees about their biggest needs.

“What are your stresses, what can we do? Child care was number one,” she explained.

“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen an 800% increase in companies reaching out to us, saying what is the child care benefits thing,” said Jeff McAdam, the creative services director at TOOTRiS, a child care on-demand platform.

He said they’ve seen an explosion of interest since the pandemic.

“A lot of these companies see the benefit of helping those parents who are otherwise having to leave because there's no child care options,” McAdam said.

Their platform gives parents a place to find child care with their specific needs, from amenities to languages.

Dr. Bronner’s was one of the first employers to work directly with the platform for their employees.

“Because of the pandemic, child care was scarce. Parents were now needing child care more than ever,” Vergara said.

She said they increased their child care program during that time.

Other companies across the U.S. have done the same. From fast-food restaurants covering half the cost to some car dealerships covering a certain amount per year.

“I’ve actually spoken to several partners within the industry where they’re asking how did you come up with the program, how does it work for your particular company,” Vergara said.

A February 2022 Pew Research Center study found about half of working parents with kids under 12 say it has been difficult to handle childcare responsibilities.

“I don't think people or companies really realize how many single-income families there are, whether it's a single parent or there's just one parent working but having the option for child care spending is huge,” Dwight said.

She no longer relies on a single income, but the child care benefits still help her drastically.

“You’re going to pay for this expense somewhere whether it's with turnover, with employees leaving,” Vergara explained. “Every company should be considering this type of program because especially if their workforce has children, this is a stressor that is common among parents.”