Amidst an executive shake up and poor managerial decisions about “loitering” in Philadelphia, Starbucks is working to improve its image and make life for its employees a little easier. Yesterday, the coffee retailer announced that it would offer subsidized child care and elder care.
It’s partnered with Care.com to create a program “Care@Work,” which connects families with caregivers online. Care@Work will provide employees who work at U.S. company-owned stores with 10 subsidized backup care days a year for kids and adults (regardless of how many hours they work).
Additionally, employees will receive a free premium membership to Care.com, which typically costs around $150 a year, access to Care.com’s digital platform of caregivers and access to Care Advisors who can help create an eldercare plan.
With this subsidized child care and elder care benefit, in-home caregiver services will only cost employees $1 per hour and in-center child care will cost $5 per child per day. If employees use up all 10 subsidized days, they will have to pay full cost for services.
“This is giving our partners [employees] resources for things that happen in regular life. We wanted to give them something to help fill in the gaps,” said Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks.
Research from the Center for American Progress reveals that in 2016, nearly 2 million parents of children age 5 and younger had to quit a job, not take a job or significantly change their job because of problems with child care. To make matters worse, the astronomical cost of child care keeps parents at home or has children attending day care centers that aren’t licensed. Despite this American crisis, very few companies offer employees support for childcare needs, which is a costly mistake for employers.
According to SHRM’s 2018 Employee Benefits report, only 2 percent of the approximately 3,000 companies surveyed offer subsidized care options. As other companies work to recruit and retain talent, Starbucks may be leading the pack with what employees need.
Though, for example, Amazon recently pledged to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour (while cutting back on other monetary perks making this seemingly “good” change controversial), Starbucks has been busy expanding its benefits package. Earlier this year, Starbucks announced a Partner and Family Sick Leave program that allows all employees to accrue paid sick time based on hours worked (one hour of sick time per every 30 hours worked) and updated its parental leave policy to include all non-birth parents so that they receive up to six weeks of paid leave when welcoming a new child.
Hopefully, as more companies battle for talent, they also realize the huge role benefits and compensation play in winning the war.