DRC Expert: Child care benefits pay dividends for employers, working parents

By Michael Wood, Vice President, Education & Workforce

Michael Wood, Vice President of Education & Workforce

A new report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Moms First suggests there is a significant return on investment for companies that provide child care benefits to their working parent employees. The study is the latest data point illustrating the extent to which child care, or the lack thereof, impacts our workforce and economy.

The DRC is breaking down key takeaways from this study and other things Dallas Region companies should know about the child care landscape.

The business case for child care.

A 2021 report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims that Texas loses more than $9 billion annually in lost work production and foregone tax revenue due to child care challenges.

BCG’s report bears this out: 58% of parents who left their jobs cited an inability to find child care as a reason. Meanwhile, roughly 70% of working parents stated that child care disruptions impacted their work productivity and attendance. When child care arrangements fall through, working parents may arrive late, be distracted on the job, or not show up to work at all.

Turnover and lost productivity come at a significant cost to employers. In fact, replacing an employee can cost a company up to twice the previous employee’s salary.

Workplace child care benefits pay for themselves.

Navigating the child care system can be challenging for working parents, who face obstacles related to cost, location, availability, and quality. Companies can help mitigate these challenges for their working parent employees by offering a variety of workplace child care benefits, from financial assistance to on-site child care.

Regardless of the child care benefit offered, companies surveyed by BCG saw between a 90% to a 425% return on investment. In some cases, retaining as few as 1% of eligible employees as a result of the child care benefit was sufficient to cover the entire cost of the program.

There are sweeping benefits for companies providing child care benefits, from improved recruitment and retention to fewer work absences and an overall boost to company culture and morale.

States are increasingly supporting companies that offer child care benefits.

Some states, including Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina, have recently adopted programs that split child care costs between the state government, the employer, and the employee. Representative Julie Johnson (D-Farmers Branch) proposed a similar model during the 88th Texas Legislative Session in 2023.

These programs, often referred to as the “Tri-Share” model, are designed to lower the cost of child care for working parents, incentivize employers to offer child care benefits, and improve workplace retention rates.

Wood with Jarrad Toussant, Senior Vice President of Education & Workforce, at Parkland Hospital’s Best Place for Working Parents award presentation.

The DRC is convening an employer work group to explore the viability of a similar program in Texas ahead of the 2025 state legislative session. Send me a note if you are interested in helping this work.

Companies offering child care benefits have a competitive advantage.

The DRC recognizes family-friendly workplaces through the Best Place for Working Parents® Dallas, a local partner of The Best Place for Working Parents® national initiative. The program aims to raise awareness of the importance of family-friendly policies in the workplace and offers a designation for companies providing family-friendly policies – including child care benefits.

Annually, the DRC designates three companies as “Innovator Award” recipients for their above-and-beyond commitment to innovative, impactful, and comprehensive family-friendly practices.

To learn more about the work the Dallas Regional Chamber is doing in Education, Talent, & Workforce, visit our website.