Every week we comb through the news to find employment trends affecting the hospitality industry so you don’t have to. This week’s Hospitality in the News topic: childcare support for hospitality professionals.
Hospitality employees are made up of a diverse group of hardworking, dynamic professionals from all walks of life. Of course this includes people with children, who make up a huge portion of the workforce. According to a news release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 80.1% of the country’s 83.8 million families have at least one employed family member (as of 2022). That equals out to over 67 million families who include a working family member. With numbers like that, it’s easy to understand why it’s absolutely crucial to support this part of the workforce.
Odds are that if you own a bar, restaurant, or hotel, you’re employing someone with a child. But you might not realize the challenges they regularly go through in order to be a working parent. That’s why there needs to be specific childcare support for hospitality professionals.
One of LGC’s senior directors who’s a member of the Colorado Restaurant Association attended their meeting last month, where they discussed this very topic. Here’s what our senior director, Jenene, had to say:
“It was very interesting to hear the struggles of hospitality professionals in attendance regarding the huge cost of childcare and the fact that childcare facilities and preschools (at least in Colorado) maintain a predominantly daytime schedule. Some of the folks in attendance rely on family members for childcare, some have great jobs that offer them flexible hours and so forth, but it is a struggle for most, and you have to make literal peanuts to qualify for financial support here.”
This begs the question, are there other cities or states that provide more adequate (or take it a step further, amazing) childcare support for hospitality professionals?
Childcare Support for Hospitality Professionals
After our team did some research, we were surprised and disappointed to find that there were little to no resources specifically dedicated to childcare support for hospitality professionals. We were able to find resources aimed towards people as young as 16, directing them to post-secondary education or in-school programs, but that seemed to be the youngest age group given support in the industry.
Finding adequate childcare support for hospitality professionals is a challenge for someone working a consistent schedule, let alone someone who is at the mercy of a hospitality schedule – which can often change or begin/end at inconvenient hours.
The modern employee is no longer just looking for good pay. They’re looking for managers to support them and their needs, and a great way to do that is by providing resources to parents to find adequate childcare support for hospitality professionals. After learning about the lack of available resources for working parents, we had a few suggestions for possible solutions that include:
Discounts for employer partners.
Find partnerships that offer childcare support for hospitality professionals who are willing to provide a discount for employees. In doing so, you can help reduce costs related to childcare which costs on average 27% of a family’s household income. (Just imagine the costs for single working parents.)
You can also think outside the box when considering partnerships. Maybe you include businesses that sell kids clothes and other supplies. Or maybe you build partnerships with markets and other grocery stores. Oftentimes transportation is another challenge for working parents. Are there relationships you can foster that will remove some of the financial burdens caused by transportation costs? Think about some of the popular stress points for working parents and then decide how you can alleviate them.
Employer-paid portions of childcare costs.
Rather than seeking out partnerships that will offer discounts to employees, consider dedicating a certain portion of money towards monthly childcare fees. Think of it as a stipend for working parents. This is something that Reddit o-founder Alexis Ohanian does with his venture capital firm, Seven Seven Six, that invests in newly founded businesses and their founders.
LGC was fortunate to attend the National Restaurant Association Show in May 2022 where Ohanian was the keynote speaker. During his keynote he spoke about how Seven Seven Six specifically allocates 2% of their investment for the founder(s) of companies they invest in to use however they see fit as long as it’s regarding health, wellness, or family. This might go towards childcare, therapy, a dietician, whatever the founder sees fit.
Adopting a similar initiative will show workers that you have their best interests at heart and are invested in their success, which will translate to higher employee satisfaction and increased retention.
Sharing resources whether internal or external.
We can’t stress enough the impact financial assistance will have on working parents. In addition to that, we suggest creating a sort of resource guide that shares free internal and external resources. Here’s what we mean by that:
- Offering flexibility to parents who may need to get shifts covered in case of last-minute emergencies.
- Giving them a specific manager/point of contact they can reach out to with questions or concerns around childcare support.
- Connecting them with other employees who may have similar needs and can work together.
- Share childcare facilities local to your business employees may want to utilize.
- Provide or post mental health resources (websites, infographic, locations, etc.).
Parents are some of the hardest working people around, especially those in hospitality. With the industry continuing to struggle to fill open positions, it’s more important than ever to prioritize working parents, a huge part of the workforce. We hope to see more support – whether it’s in the form of legislation, resources, or financial aid – for working parents from the restaurant industry in the future.