The Bottom Line: Investing in Child Care Pays Off

For working parents, child care is more than a “perk”—it’s essential. By investing in solutions that increase access to affordable child care for employees, your business can create a stronger, more engaged workforce—all while reducing costs related to turnover, missed work and other interruptions caused by inadequate child care availability.

Read more to learn about the impact child care has on your workforce, your bottom line, and Iowa’s economy. And discover solutions that increase access to care for employees.

Child Care Is a Workforce Issue

How much does access to child care matter to your employees? A lot, according to research. Employee exit surveys have found child care listed in the top three reasons for turnover, and in a study conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), it takes up to 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary to find a direct replacement.

Child care issues also cause working parents to be absent from work for nearly two weeks per year. But according to the Early Care & Learning Council, when companies provide child care benefits, employee absences decrease by up to 30% and job turnover declines by as much as 60%.

To better assist businesses, IWF partnered with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) to hire Sheri Penney as our full-time Employer Engagement Director.

The purpose of this position is to educate businesses on the impact of child care benefits, connect businesses with expert resources, and provide support throughout the process.

For more information, view our Employer Engagement Flyer or contact Sheri.

Iowa Business and Child Care Coalition (IBCCC)

Before COVID-19, Iowa had a workforce gap spurred on by a lack of quality, affordable child care. Now, with child care even more inaccessible, parents—many of them women—are dropping out of the workforce at record rates. As a result, the workforce gap grows ever wider.

The Iowa Women’s Foundation, along with business leaders from across the state, have formed The Iowa Business and Child Care Coalition (IBCCC) to help close this gap. Together, we outline business-based solutions that can help combat Iowa’s child care shortage, while addressing additional challenges created by the pandemic. Our work aims to bolster workforce participation across the state, especially among women. 

Iowa Business Partners

Members of the Iowa Business and Child Care Coalition recognize that child care is an issue for the state, and that we must act NOW to address it. We are grateful for our business partners who are dedicated to this exploring this issue for the benefit of businesses and families all across Iowa.

Dave Arens 

Nicole Crain

Teri Gibson
TrueNorth Companies

Mary Janssen
Child Care Resource and Referral 

Dan Levi
Levi Architecture

Nancy Lowenberg
U.S. Bank

Jo Christine Miles
Principal Foundation

Jamie Miller
Iowa Credit Union Foundation

Katie Morris
The VGM Group 

Joe Murphy
Iowa Business Council

Jen Neumann
de Novo Marketing

Katie Petru

Megan Schulte
Frontier Co-op

Nancy Snaadt
Alliant Energy

Sonya Thrall
Western Home Communities

Mindi VandenBosch
Vermeer, Forage Solutions

Kyle Roed
CPM Holdings, Inc.

How the IBCCC Will Make an Impact on Child Care

We will achieve this by: 

  • Sharing best practices and information on business-provided solutions (such as co-oped child care, on-site child care, and compensation packages that feature child care assistance), and modeling expanded offerings in our own workforces.
  • Exploring models of shared services that can support and expand the child care ecosystem. 
  • Advocating for common sense change in the child care system that supports registered operations, increases access to support, and reduces barriers without impacting quality delivery of services.

Child Care Solutions for Businesses

The Iowa Business and Child Care Coalition has created a toolkit of solutions to help businesses address the various ways in which a lack of child care affects workforce participation.

The comprehensive toolkit includes detailed information on how to implement one or more of six solutions:

  • Backup Child Care Options
  • Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Flexible Work Arrangements
  • Off-site/Nearby Partnerships
  • On-site Child Care
  • Subsidized Child Care

Toolkits will be available early February, 2021. Interested businesses, trade groups, and other organizations can request either a downloadable or printed toolkit at no cost. Large quantities of printed toolkits are available for business associations or groups exploring the issue. You may also request a presentation from the Iowa Women’s Foundation on the Child Care Solutions Toolkit.

For more information, please contact

We have provided resources to help businesses attract and retain employees by offering help to their employees who need child care and for businesses who want to form partnerships with other local companies to help with the lack of child care slots available. The Iowa Women’s Foundation developed surveys to help gauge your employees’ interest in what type of assistance would be needed and the impact on your business. For more information, request your surveys and business partnership examples below. They include:

  • Survey on child care impact for employees
  • Survey on child care needs for employers
  • Survey on child care for businesses
  • Partnership examples