Employer-Supported Child Care: Who Participates?

By Morrissey, Taryn W.; Warner, Mildred E. | Journal of Marriage and Family, December 2009 | Go to article overview

Employer-Supported Child Care: Who Participates?


Morrissey, Taryn W., Warner, Mildred E., Journal of Marriage and Family


Child-care vouchers are becoming more common and can provide child-care assistance to a wide spectrum of the population. There is little empirical research, however, on which workers participate in their employer's child-care programs. In this exploratory study, employees with children at 1 large university completed questionnaires to gather information on their child-care arrangements and their experience with the employer's child-care voucher program (N = 949). Results indicate that the employees who were most in need of child-care assistance in terms of family structure, job type, and child-care expenses were more likely to receive vouchers. Federal policy limiting the structure of employer-sponsored voucher programs appeared to present barriers to participation for certain groups of employees.

Key Words: child-care arrangements, families and work, family policy, logistic regression, work-family balance.

The consequences of child-care problems for employees and their productivity at work serve as a primary motivation for employers to provide child-care assistance to their employees. In 1989, the Families and Work Institute (1989) published the Productivity Effects of Workplace Child Care Centers, one of the first studies to delineate the effects of child care on parent productivity. Since then, firms have experimented with various initiatives to promote employee productivity, recruitment, and retention through child-care assistance, including on-site child-care centers, employersupported resource and referral networks, back-up or sick care provision, flextime, or portable child-care subsidies or vouchers (Friedman, 2001).

Although on-site child-care centers grew in popularity during the 1980s and 1990s, many employers, particularly small firms, have been reluctant to invest in centers because of their high sunk costs, continuing demand for operating subsidies, and the relatively small number of children served (Stoney, Mitchell, & Dichter, 2001). Voucher programs are more flexible and can be tailored to employee's individual needs. Voucher funds also can fluctuate relative to employee demand and market conditions. Furthermore, because vouchers can be linked to regular payroll operations, they are a tool easily implemented by all employers, regardless of firm size or the number of employees with children, and thus offer wider replicability than on-site child care.

There is a considerable body of research on the impacts of on-site child care, flextime, and maternity and paternity leave on employees (Bygren & Duvander, 2006; Goff, Mount, & Jamison, 1990; Halpern, 2005). Likewise, there is a wealth of research on the effects of public subsidies, which constitute the largest form of public child-care assistance in the United States (Kelly, 2003), on parental employment among poor families. In general, subsidy receipt has been associated with the use of higher quality and licensed child care (Crosby, Gennetian, & Huston, 2005), fewer work-hour problems (Press, Fagan, & Laughlin, 2006), and higher maternal labor force participation and improved employment stability (Meyers, 1993; Meyers, Heintze, & Wolf, 2002). By contrast, there are few studies on employer-provided portable child-care vouchers.

Participation in Employer Work-Family Initiatives

Relatively little research has explored which employees elect to participate in their employer's child-care initiatives. Previous studies have indicated that, although many firms report having work-family initiatives on their books, few employees take advantage of them (Bond, Thompson, Galinsky, & Prottas, 2002). The social context of the workplace, including the emphasis supervisors place on "face time" and on educating their employees about their benefits, have been strongly and negatively related to work-family program take-up rates (Berg, Kalleberg, & Appelbaum, 2003; Blair-Loy & Wharton, 2002; Bygren & Duvander, 2006).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Employer-Supported Child Care: Who Participates?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.