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Patagonia’s CEO Explains Why On-Site Child Care Is Affordable For Companies

Currently only 11 percent of businesses in the U.S. offer their employees paid leave, and only California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia offer paid family leave. If you’re not a part of this lucky minority, Rose Marcario has a message for your boss: The least you could do is provide on-site child care. In an essay for Fast Company, the CEO of Patagonia (a company that offers paid leave and child care) points out that the main reason companies don’t offer such family friendly benefits is the cost, which they could recoup. You have to spend money to make money, and capitalism kind of sucks at that part.

Like Marcario, the government already knows that on-site childcare in the workplace is good for the economy. That’s why they offer tax credits to qualified programs of $150,000 annually, as well as allow businesses to deduct up to 35 percent of unrecovered costs from corporate taxes. For Patagonia that means if they spend $1 million a year on child care, they will get back $150,000 from the tax credit, along with an additional $350,000 in tax deductions. That’s half of the total cost covered by The Man, who you can either thank or take pride in sticking it to.

How To Have Free Company Child Care

On top of that, Patagonia makes back almost all of that remaining 50 percent through employee retention and engagement. According to Marcario, anywhere 20 to 35 percent of working mothers who give birth in the U.S. do not return to their jobs (Lean In puts this figure as high as 43 percent). And yet at Patagonia, 100 percent of moms have returned from maternity leave over the past 5 years, and other parents experience a 25 percent lower turnover rate overall when their kids are enrolled in the these programs. Marcario estimates that retention alone has helped them recover 30 percent of their investment, and an additional 11 percent in employee engagement.

If Patagonia is able to recover up to 91 percent of the cost to implement on-site child care, that means it would only cost your employer 9 percent to make your work-life balance a bit easier. So why aren’t they? If that’s too challenging of a question, consider posing an easier one: Is Patagonia hiring?

[H/T] Fast Company

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