There are systemic barriers to work—including access to transportation and childcare—that employers can help reduce and remove for workers. And the resources it takes to provide such support can be recovered through reductions in turnover costs and lead to improved employee satisfaction and retention.
Having access to affordable childcare was rated by 43.8% of all respondents as very important among factors they consider in how they earn money. And more than a quarter of all respondents said that transportation and childcare issues were barriers to them and others they know applying for, finding or keeping employment. Including transportation and childcare supports among more traditional benefits of health insurance and savings plans can be a differentiator for companies and open them up to a larger pool of candidates who may not be able to accept the job otherwise. Several examples of this surfaced through the Fund for Our Economic Future’s Paradox Prize initiative, which sourced and funded eight transportation pilots across the region to better connect workers and employers.
For instance, Laketran, the public transportation system in Lake County, developed a transit benefit program for employers in the county to offer their employees—at no cost to either. Companies who sign up for the program, called Transit GO, can offer employees a free monthly transit pass. Other pilots experimented with vanpool service. There are also carpooling apps and other tools and resources employers can tap into to ease the commutes of their employees. Go to www.paradoxprize.com to learn more.
And while opening up an on-site daycare can be complex and costly, there are other ways employers can support workers who are parents of young children. A daycare stipend, supportive parental leave and flexible shift times are other “non-traditional” benefits employers can consider.