Business And Education Leaders Urge Employers To Help With Child Care

Some Georgia companies are trying to figure out how to help their employees access child care.
Some Georgia companies are trying to figure out how to help their employees access child care.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE
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Working parents with young children often say finding good child care is difficult and stressful. However, a report from the Early Care and Learning Council shows parents who have their children enrolled in high-quality child care centers are more productive at work. When companies provide care, employee absences decrease, and so does job turnover.

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Some Georgia businesses, like The Home Depot and King & Spalding, already provide on-site child care for employees. Now, others are starting to help their employees find care.

In January, Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital will open a child care center for its workers. The facility will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The project costs a million dollars. Hospital president and CEO Dr. Charles Peck says it’s worth it.

“I know for a fact that whatever amount of money it’s going to cost us, it’s going to pay itself back multiple times over by being able to recruit and retain the best people,” Peck said during a forum at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.

In metro Atlanta, the average cost of care for one child is more than $9,000 a year. That’s almost as much as one year of in-state tuition at the University of Georgia. Because children can’t enter public school until they’re four or five years old, parents with young children are often stuck.

“Our education system for children when their brains are developing most rapidly, when learning matters most, is largely funded by parent fees,” said Pam Tatum, executive director of Quality Care for Children.

While on-site child care can be an effective tool for recruiting employees, experts say companies don’t have to go that far to help out. They can give subsidies, provide backup care, and even collaborate with other businesses to open a quality daycare center.