As organisations switch to hybrid mode, employees get a mix of childcare benefits

Organizations that are switching to a hybrid mode of working with a dip in the pandemic are now offering employees a mix of childcare benefits to adapt to the change.

Employees are being offered a mix of day care centres/creches, virtual care support, nanny support benefits and childminders, a TOI report said.

The benefits offered are gender-neutral.

Not many companies offered their employees a mix of childcare benefits before the pandemic, but with more people now having to work some days from office and some days from home, this looked inevitable.

Physical day care is normally the most availed childcare benefit, according to a parental benefit survey of 54 companies done by ProEves. But during the pandemic, physical day care got less prevalent and virtual care was adopted by 65% of companies. IT/ITes and BFSI are the leading adopters are such benefits

One-to-one childminders were offered by 43%, online kids’ management by 46% and nanny care by 13% of the companies, said the report which was assessed by TOI.

59% of these companies are launching near-home day care by December, the report said, as they plan on using flexi-childcare benefits to hold on to talent that would prefer them.

Divya Agarwal, founder, ProEves, said that ‘Flexi return’ is the new way of returning to work with 72% of the companies calling in employees 2-3 days a week.

HSBC India introduced childcare benefits to aid mothers, and later all primary caregivers to balance work and caregiving last year.

“During the pandemic, we added options to deepen childcare and allow the flexibility to utilise the benefit meaningfully according to their unique need. Whether day care near the office or home, nanny care or virtual care, an employee can access a suite of resources on our platform and reimburse the expense according to policy,”Archana Chadha, HR head, HSBC India, said.

PepsiCo India collaborated with ProEves to provide employees with virtual childcare services for free.

“As we implement a hybrid work model, childcare benefits would also be integrated with flexibility — it would include creche with subsidised rates across key locations for those who opt to come to work while continuing virtual services at discounted rates,” said Pavitra Singh, PepsiCo India CHRO.

EY Global Delivery Services (EY DGS) offers creche and other childcare services free of cost to their employees. Men and women of a child up to five years of age can opt to work from home.