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On-site child care

Health Factors: Employment
Decision Makers: Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government Federal Government
Evidence Rating: Insufficient Evidence
Population Reach: 50-99% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: No impact on disparities likely

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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

Increased job satisfaction
Reduced absenteeism
Increased productivity

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 recent study of a hospital-based on-site child care suggests that on-site child care may reduce absenteeism (Gullekson 2014), and a study of academic scientists at research universities suggests it may increase employee productivity (Feeney 2014). 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 satisfaction (Goff 1990, Kossek 1992Ezra 1996Gullekson 2014).

One study at a large public university indicates that on-site child care could have negative effects on employee productivity and satisfaction if is not high quality and paired with organizational support for family life (Ratnasingam 2012).


United States

Nationwide, an estimated 7% of companies provide child care at or near worksites, with large companies more likely to offer it than small employers (FWI-Matos 2014).

Citations - Evidence

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. Accessed on February 16, 2016
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. Accessed on February 16, 2016
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. Accessed on February 16, 2016
Gullekson 2014* - Gullekson NL. Vouching for childcare assistance with two quasi-experimental studies. Journal of Managerial Psychology. 2014;29(8):994-1008. Accessed on February 16, 2016
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. Accessed on February 16, 2016
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. Accessed on February 16, 2016

Citations - Implementation

FWI-Matos 2014 - Matos K, Galinsky E. 2014 national study of employers. New York: Families and Work Institute (FWI); 2014. Accessed on February 16, 2016

Page Last Updated

May 7, 2015

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