Employer-Sponsored Child Care

The Basic Idea:

Reduce the cost of child care by encouraging businesses to support child care for their workers – or the broader community.

How it works:

  • Businesses provide supports such as:
    • Tax-free Flexible Spending Accounts for their employees to set aside pre-tax dollars for dependent care
    • Cash support or in-kind subsidies to child care centers in return for employee discounts or priority access
    • Child care vouchers to help workers pay for care
    • On-site or employer-provided child care programs
    • Flexible scheduling to help reduce employee child care needs and costs
    • Child care referral services
  • Businesses benefit from a more productive and stable workforce, lower turnover costs, and, in some cases, a charitable write-off.

Who Does It?

  • Businesses and organizations of all types (including government and nonprofits) – especially those with a younger workforce or that have difficulty attracting and retaining workers.
  • Cities, counties, and states across the nation have created programs to promote employer-sponsored child care and help businesses get started in offering employer sponsored childcare.


  • There are many options that can be tailored to businesses of any size and type.
  • Research clearly documents benefits to businesses that equal or outweigh the costs.
  • Many businesses simply don’t know about the options, but may be able and willing to start programs once someone helps them understand what is possible and how they will benefit.


  • Very small businesses may find it difficult to administer any of the options.

Simplicity Index

  • Win-Win for Businesses and Families. Employer-sponsored child care helps businesses retain employees while enabling families to keep what they’ve earned.

Quilt It

  • Grow It: When working families can spend less time and money on securing and paying for child care, they’re able to save what they’ve earned and increase financial stability.

Examples and Resources

Horizons Workforce Consulting published a fact sheet that details the benefits of employer-sponsored child care. Click here to access this resource and learn more so that you can make the case for employer-sponsored child care for working families.

Child Care & Early Education Research Connections is resource that promotes research in child care and early education. Their website contains a wide range of information and resources related to child care and early education. http://www.childcareresearch.org/discover/index.jsp

RuFES is a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group.
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