On-site child care

Evidence Rating  
Insufficient Evidence
Evidence rating: Insufficient Evidence

Strategies with this rating have limited research documenting effects. These strategies need further research, often with stronger designs, to confirm effects.

Health Factors  
Decision Makers

Employers who offer on-site child care provide employees with child care options at work.  Care may be provided free of charge, partially subsidized as part of an employee benefit package, or provided at market rates.

Expected Beneficial Outcomes (Rated)

  • Increased job satisfaction

  • Reduced absenteeism

  • Increased productivity

Other Potential Beneficial Outcomes

  • Increased breastfeeding rates

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is insufficient evidence to determine whether on-site child care increases job satisfaction and employee productivity, or decreases employee absenteeism. Available evidence suggests that on-site child care may have positive effects; a study of a hospital-based on-site child care suggests possible reductions in absenteeism1 and a study of on-site child care at research universities suggests possible increases in employee productivity2. A study of internal medicine residency programs suggests that programs that offer on-site child care may have higher board exam pass rates than programs that do not3 and a North Carolina-based study of manufacturing facilities indicates workers place a high value on on-site child care centers, even if they do not have children4. However, early studies of on-site child care find both positive effects and lack of effects, positive or negative, on employee absenteeism, performance, and job satisfaction1, 5, 6, 7, 8. Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

On-site child care may also increase breastfeeding duration9. One study at a large public university indicates that on-site child care could have negative effects on employee productivity and satisfaction when it does not provide high quality care and is not paired with organizational support for family life10.

Impact on Disparities

No impact on disparities likely

Implementation Examples

Nationwide, an estimated 7% of companies provide child care at or near worksites, with large companies more likely to offer it than small employers11.

Footnotes

* Journal subscription may be required for access.

1 Gullekson 2014* - Gullekson NL. Vouching for childcare assistance with two quasi-experimental studies. Journal of Managerial Psychology. 2014;29(8):994-1008.

2 Feeney 2014* - Feeney MK, Bernal M, Bowman L. Enabling work? Family-friendly policies and academic productivity for men and women scientists. Science and Public Policy. 2014;41:750-764.

3 Atsawarungruangkit 2015 - Atsawarungruangkit A. Relationship of residency program characteristics with pass rate of the American Board of Internal Medicine certifying exam. Medical Education Online. 2015;20(1):28631.

4 Connelly 2004* - Connelly R, Degraff DS, Willis RA. The value of employer-sponsored child care to employees. Industrial Relations. 2004;43(4):759-792.

5 Goff 1990* - Goff SJ, Mount MK, Jamison R. Employer supported child care, work/family conflict, and absenteeism: A field study. Personnel Psychology. 1990;43(4):793-809.

6 Kossek 1992* - Kossek EE, Nichol V. The effects of on-site child care on employee attitudes and performance. Personnel Psychology. 1992;43(3):485-509.

7 Ezra 1996* - Ezra M, Deckman M. Balancing work and family responsibilities: Flextime and child care in the federal government. Public Administration Review. 1996;56(2):174-179.

8 Barcenas-Frausto 2009* - Barcenas-Frausto J. Family-supportive policies: The employer-sponsored child-care approach as an influence of the relationship between work and family outcomes. The Business Review, Cambridge. 2009;14(1):92-98.

9 Hilliard 2017* - Hilliard ED. A review of worksite lactation accommodations: Occupational health professionals can assure success. Workplace Health & Safety. 2017;65(1):33-44.

10 Ratnasingam 2012* - Ratnasingam P, Spitzmueller C, King WR, et al. Can on-site childcare have detrimental work outcomes? Examining the moderating roles of family supportive organization perceptions and childcare satisfaction. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 2012;17(4):435-444.

11 FWI-Matos 2014 - Matos K, Galinsky E. 2014 national study of employers. New York: Families and Work Institute (FWI); 2014.

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