How to Start a Daycare at Work

As we see the increase in the cost of living, which requires both parents in the household to work full-time jobs, and single-parenthood rises, daycare becomes more than a necessary need.  Daycare can be as expensive as paying rent or a mortgage payment.  

How do you start a daycare at work?  By simply understanding your potential return on investment (ROI), getting your fellow employees involved, starting small then branching out, and employing childcare providers. 

Starting an on-site daycare center, grants advantages to not only the employee but also to the employer.

How to Start a Daycare at Work

Potential Return on Investment (ROI)

 You may not realize it, but starting an on-site daycare is a win-win-solution. Anytime you make an investment there will be risks involved. However, you can ease your mind by knowing the potential return on investment.

There are many women who are not able to return back to work after they have a child.  Women can be forced with the decision of whether to go back to work or to become a stay at home parent.  By providing an on-site daycare, it allows the parent to return back to work with some great advantages.

According to Child Care Associates, “when companies provide child care, employee absences decrease by up to 30 percent, and job turnover declines by as much as 60 percent.”

Employee absences can be a major aspect when a working parent has a child in daycare. Most daycares want parents to pick up his or her child by a certain time.  Parents may also get called to go handle a situation at the center. Not to mention, daycare centers may close days that business would normally be open.

The average daycare center operates Monday through Friday from 7 am to 6 pm.  If parents do not pick up their child by 6 pm, they will be charged a fee depending on how strict the center is on its pick up policy. The center may even ask the parent to find another solution for their childcare needs.  What if your organization requires that employees come in on Saturdays?  What if your organization hours are later than 6 pm?

By opening an on-site daycare, this allows you to keep the business operating smoothly.  You can eliminate the issue of daycare being limited to your employees.  This also helps minimize the number of hours an employee will have to spend away from the organization.

Turnover can really hurt an organization.  When  benefits like childcare are offered, the organization will gain loyal employees.  Less turnover means keeping the talent that is already on the team.  When you reduce  turnover, you also reduce the cost to train new employees.  When you have to slow down to train new employees, you are also slowing down your productivity.

Get Fellow Employees Involved

Getting your fellow employees involved will help you determine the need and value of opening an on-site daycare.  You can find out the needs of employees through basic conversation or even through an employee survey.

You can ask questions like, how much is daycare costing you? Or how would you feel about an on-site daycare facility? Who cares for your child/children when daycare is closed?  Do you have family or friends in the area who can assist you with your child’s needs?

This not only shows fellow employees the value they bring to the organization; but also gives them a work-life balance. They will know that their child is in the same facility as them and they can stay an extra fifteen minutes to finish a project.

Parents enjoy convenience and a work-life balance when it comes to providing a lifestyle for their family and making sure their child/children are well taken care of. As a parent, I tend to be distracted wondering if my child is okay while he is at daycare.  If my employer provided on-site daycare, it would ease my mind to know that my child was in the same facility as me.

Two years ago, I was forced into a situation where I had to rely on daycare for my toddler. We lived away from family and friends and I did not know anyone.  It was very difficult to find a center due to all centers closed by 6 pm and I worked for a company that did not close until 8 pm.

I finally found a center that was opened 24-hours a day.  The cost was expensive, 500 per month.  That was just as much as my rent payment. The center did not have a kitchen or any type of meal plan service, so I also provided all his meals for the day.  I did not know the people he was with all day and it caused me to stress about his safety and health.  After about seven months, due to the high cost of daycare, I ended up resigning from the job I loved in order to move back home where I now have help with my son.

Having an on-site daycare would also allow parents to have lunch with their child every day, and have the additional time they are looking to spend with their child.  An on-site daycare would help an employees’ morale and work performance.  Not only will opening an on-site daycare ease the parent’s minds, but it also will reduce the stress levels.  Which in return will also create the work-life balance that all parents search for in a career.

How to Start a Daycare at Work

Start Small Then Branch Out

What does it mean to start small then branch out?  Starting small is aimed towards servicing the employees first.  Once you see that  work-life balance, if desired to, services  can be offered to neighboring organizations.

On-site daycare facilities usually have an age limit for a child to stay.  However,  if chosen to,  after school programs could be provided.  This would be beneficial to working parents who need additional childcare services.

If  after-care services are going to be provided, transportation will be needed to get back to the center. A bus shuttle can be provided, or maybe something could be worked out with the local school administration to add the daycare to the route.

Another option that you may be offer at the daycare center is a summer program for certain age groups.  This will assist parents and once again grant them peace of mind.  Parents won’t have the stress of trying to find someone to keep their child.  Parents will know where their child is at the daycare center the entire day as well as know their child is in a safe environment.

Will you have your on-site daycare in the same building or adjacent to your organization? If you have sufficient space in the same building as your organization, you are able to use that space as long as it is within the guidelines of your local licensing laws.  If you do not have the space on-site, you are also able to use a neighboring building.

Employing ChildCare Providers

Adding a new department also means interviewing for a new department.  If you are unsure where to begin, reaching out to a vendor could be an additional help.  Vendors can help get your on-site daycare operating quickly with their strong expertise.

An example of these vendors is KinderCare.  KinderCare has all the resources at their disposal to help an on-site daycare be ready to open.  KinderCare will help you with your available space for your daycare to ensure it complies with the local licensing laws.  They will also be sure to make sure that the available space follows all safety and health regulations.

If you choose to not reach out to a vendor, you can do your own scouting.  When it comes to employing childcare providers you will need to verify the requirements to be a daycare employee.  Qualifications include an individual of 18 years or older, have a valid high school diploma or GED, be able to pass a background check, and be able to pass a drug screen. Check your local laws for any additional requirements.

How to Start a Daycare at Work

Related Questions

Are there any tax credits available to my organization by starting an on-site daycare?

Starting an on-site daycare does give your organization a tax credit of up to $150,000.  According to Patagonia, your organization will also be able to deduct 35% of unrecovered costs from the corporate tax bit.

How much should an on-site daycare cost? 

If you choose to, you can charge a small fee for your services.  You can give your employees a discount of 5% or 10% off what they were already paying for daycare.  You can also provide free services for your services.  Research your neighbor organizations to find out what kind of daycare benefits they offer their employees.

Who should I present my idea of an on-site daycare?

After carefully getting all your research together. Make a nice portfolio to show your organization the win-win solution. You should present the information to your Human Resources Department.

Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.

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How to Start a Daycare at Work