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Most Employers Offer No Childcare Assistance

Because the rising cost of childcare remains out of reach for many in the U.S., women are often forced to leave the workforce. Employers could help, but most aren’t.

By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

The cost of childcare is out of reach for many in the United States: The average household spends around $9,000 to $9,600 annually for a single child. That’s roughly double the cost of one year at an in-state university, more than 10 percent of the median income for a two-earner household, and 37 percent of the median income for a single-earner household. Forty-three percent of highly qualified women with children leave the workforce, according to the Harvard Business Review, with the temporal and financial demands of parenthood to blame.

We asked 6,000 women whether their employer provides childcare assistance. Less that 9 percent say their employer does. The largest percentage share—67.3 percent—say no. Nearly a quarter are unaware of any employer-subsidized childcare assistance.

Survey results Does your employer provide childcare assistance

Employers that offer childcare assistance

There are companies working to make life easier for professional parents. Clif Bar & Company (4.5 stars), General Mills (3.5 stars), and SAS (3.2 stars) offer on-site childcare centers. Patagonia (3.8 stars) has been offering that service for more than three decades and estimates the company recoups 91 percent of the cost though tax benefits, employee retention, and employee engagement.

Edward Jones (3.8 stars) offers dependent day care reimbursement accounts, while consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) (3.6 stars) offers backup childcare reimbursement programs (when employees work late, for example).


Survey of 6,201 women in April 2019.

Company ratings accurate as of May 22, 2019.

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By Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza

Content Strategist, InHerSight

Emily is on staff at InHerSight where she writes about data and women's rights. 

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