Bring Your Kids to Work: Setting Up an In-Office Child Care Center

by Thom Tracy

4 min read

Progressive companies realize that to attract and retain the best employees, the work environment must allow workers to balance their job duties with the other responsibilities they face. Top employees compare pay and benefits when deciding between job offers, but they also look at other perks being offered. Sometimes, the best candidate for a position is a parent concerned with the logistics of getting children to and from day care and the expense of paying for it. Setting up an in-office child care center alleviates this concern. Workers can effectively bring their children to work each day; if an emergency arises, they’re right down the hall and not all the way across town.

Benefits of an In-Office Child Care Center

Having an in-office child care center benefits employee recruitment, retention, and satisfaction. For the many families with two working parents, figuring out transportation to and from day care, and how to pay for it, are some of the biggest challenges they face. Offering these workers the benefit of saving time and money with an in-office day care makes your company an attractive option. Moreover, employees are less likely to jump ship to a competitor whey they know that doing so would result in losing the benefit of having their children at work with them. Having a day care on site increases employee satisfaction by reducing stress for parents with young children.

Liability Insurance

Whether your business is an office, a manufacturing facility, or even a large retail center, you can install a day care center for employees and their young children. However, it isn’t as simple as emptying out a room and filling it with smiling children. There are many provisions you need to have in place before opening your in-office child care for business. Perhaps the most important is liability insurance. No matter how smoothly your facility is run and how well your staff is trained, a child is bound to get injured or sick on the premises from time to time. Many insurance companies in Canada offer specific policies for day care center owners. This insurance covers enrolled children as well as staff members and volunteers in the event of an accident or medical situation.

Hiring Staff

Having an in-office day care necessitates hiring additional employees. You need a dedicated staff in charge of manning the day care, and these employees should have experience working with children of all ages. Ensure that they’re CPR-certified, experienced with first aid, and that you run extensive background checks on all of them. The person in charge of running the day care must carry the Registered Early Childhood Educator (RECE) qualification. Most provinces also cap the allowed ratio of children to staff members. While you want to be sure to follow Canadian law in screening potential employees based on background check results, you also should err on the side of safety for your employees and their children. Any criminal records that demonstrate negligence, dishonesty, or violent tendencies should be immediate grounds for disqualification. These workers are going to bear responsibility for the safety and well-being of your other employees’ kids; you cannot afford to make a bad hire here.

Paying for the Service

Running a day care center carries a hefty monthly expense. Your company, in an ideal situation, finds a way to balance this expense with additional revenue. Perhaps the easiest way is to charge employees for use of the service. A delicate balancing act exists here, particularly if you’re using the day care center as a perk to recruit workers. If you charge a comparable amount to what they’d pay down the street, the day care ceases to become much of a benefit at all. Another option is to charge something akin to a small tax that comes out of all employees’ paychecks to defray the costs of the day care center; however, this might breed resentment among workers who don’t have children and don’t benefit from the center.

Additional Considerations

Your in-office day care center can be more than a place for employees to drop off their kids to be cared for by qualified professionals. Certain additional perks can make life even easier for your employees, and they can make it easier for your company to recruit the best workers and foster a culture of employee satisfaction. For example, a nursing station for new moms makes a fantastic addition to an in-office child care center. Another possibility is to bring in tutors on a part-time or full-time basis to help children with schoolwork or with learning to read; you could also hire instructors in specific disciplines, such as piano or martial arts, to provide children with enrichment activities. Establishing an in-office day care is a challenge, but one that might be worth it. It can boost your recruitment of new employees and help you ensure that your current workers are satisfied.

References & Resources

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