As the founder of Campseekers and a parent, finding childcare when school is not in session stresses me out.
My husband and I, like many parents, are committed to our professions. Both working full-time, we needed childcare for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days/week. And our needs don’t take a “break” when school does.
Turns out, I’m not alone. More than 60% of U.S. households contain two working parents.
And obviously, quality, reliable childcare – and the costs and logistics that come with it – is a top concern for all of them. And, when school begins around age 6, there is little to any benefit support from employers to the millions of working parents trying to juggle their careers with the needs of their families.
Both sides are losing: Working parents are stressed and distracted. Employers are losing productivity and overall employee satisfaction.
A light bulb went off, and Campseekers was born.
Twelve years ago my life changed. After two decades devoting the majority of my time to building a business and career, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. My husband and I were thrilled, of course, and in the years that followed, we relished our new life as parents.
While home care with a nanny worked beautifully for our young daughter, when she reached grade school, the routine of balancing the demands of two careers with our daughter’s schedule went haywire. I realized I was spending hours upon hours every winter and spring desperately trying to cobble together full-day camp programs to cover 14 weeks of summer and school breaks.
My husband and I looked around to our Boston-area friends and realized many of our working friends and colleagues were facing the same daunting task. Every. Single. Year. And, it turned out the national numbers are significant.
On average, the school year spans about 36 weeks of a 52-week year. With the average U.S. employee receiving only about ten days (two weeks) of paid vacation time per year, this leaves 14 weeks a year when parents have no vacation time and kids aren’t in school, putting the traditional U.S. workforce schedule in direct conflict with… Parenthood.
The time commitment to research and plan coverage for school breaks is significant. Any parent will tell you that identifying quality, well-run camps, researching logistics, weighing costs and value and creating a schedule is a commitment. And perhaps most important is knowing for sure: Will my child enjoy this camp? Will he/she be happy?
The result? For families, it’s stress.
As I and many of my colleagues experienced, the research and logistics required to find and secure quality school break programs for more than three months each year is draining and distracting. Moreover, the costs are astounding: the average cost per child for a full-day camp can be as much as $500 a week, which equates to $7,000 per year, per child, in certain areas of the country.
I dug deeper and found that, for employers, the number of lost hours due to school breaks (when parents have to take time off from work in order to care for their children) result in lost productivity of $20 billion/year. The biggest impact may possibly be on service-related businesses, such as the legal, technology, medical, and financial services fields, where employers put a heavier emphasis on a consistent commitment and, subsequently, more stress on absenteeism due to childcare needs.
Many top employers striving to be a Best Place to Work know childcare benefits are considered a valuable offering for employees. The 14-week gap in childcare for elementary age children presents a significant opportunity for companies looking to demonstrate their commitment to their employees and families.
Employers that are committed to helping their employees create and live thriving lives – both at work and at home – offer benefits that do more than cover the basics. They go beyond, intentionally thinking of the stresses that impact their employees and their families, and creating new benefits that solve those problems.
With Campseekers, employers help their employees easily solve their school break needs. By providing programs that streamline planning and reduce costs, employers increase productivity by ensuring their employee’s are available, focused and happy, retain top employees and minimize the attrition that often occurs during the middle years of parenthood.
Plus, employers can differentiate themselves in the hiring process.
Interest in Campseekers – from parents, camps and large players in technology, legal and health industries – is skyrocketing.
Contact Us to hear more.