School is out and the excitement among children across the U.S. is unreal. Slower mornings, maybe a vacation and some beach time, cookouts, and more. The kids are thrilled, causing most parents to reminisce about how they spent summers as a kid, hoping to provide similar experiences or maybe even something more.
We’ve shifted as a society, however, and today more than 60% of U.S. households contain two working parents. Today, the average U.S. employee receives two-to-four weeks of vacation time per year while school-age children are given 14 weeks of school break, with at least 10 weeks taking place in the summer. Households with two working parents report that the scramble to line up summer childcare programs, such as day camps, specialty camps and sleepaway camps, begins as early as September, when camps offer discounts for returning families, By January, slots at coveted camps are filling up.
Make no mistake, the research and logistics required to find and secure quality school break programs for more than three months each year is draining and distracting to parents. For employers, the impact is quantifiable: The number of lost working hours due to school breaks (when parents have to take time off from work in order to care for their children) results in lost productivity of $20 billion.
Both sides are losing: Working parents are stressed and distracted.
Employers are losing productivity and overall employee satisfaction.
Many top employers striving to be a "Best Place to Work" know childcare benefits are considered a valuable offering for employees, and they have figured out that the 14-week gap in childcare for school-age children presents a significant opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to their employees and families. Companies like General Dynamics, Genentech, Spencer Stuart, Tufts University and Bullhorn, as well as other top employers in the healthcare, financial services, legal and technology fields are offering simple services to connect their employees with school break childcare options.