Employers who offer subsidized and on-site day care as part of their employee-benefits plan are very popular. Employer-sponsored day care is a high-demand employee perk. It is also a very difficult and costly benefit to implement. Google has recently learned this first-hand.
According to to a Joe Nocera of the New York Times, in an article titled, On Day Care, Google Makes a Rare Fumble, there has been a recent brouhaha about this very topic. According to the article, Google has implemented a five-quarter plan to raise the cost of company-subsidized day care by approximately 75%. [Gulp!]
Subsidized and on-site day care certainly aren’t yet common but they’ve been around for more than a decade at many large organizations. Google’s own experience with day care has been a unique one. Google began offering day care more than three years ago. After devoting substantial efforts to it, the program offered only 200 (highly coveted) day care spots with a wait list of more than 700–resulting in a two-year wait for new parents and employees. And the cost was no small thing. Nocera writes that the cost to the company was $37,000 per child per year, as compared with the industry standard of $12,000 per year.
The hyperinflation in cost will certainly reduce that waiting list. And if it doesn’t, Google’s recent practice of charging people several hundred dollars to stay on the waiting list should do the trick. As a back-up, though, Google is opening new facilities, which should add another 300 spots.