Companies that offer childcare services for their employees found that the benefit exerted a significant positive impact on their businesses, improving recruitment, retention, and productivity of workers, a report said on Wednesday.
To meet the demand for employer-supported childcare, increased investments are needed to offer various childcare options, according to the report released by International Finance Corp, a member of the World Bank Group.
"Without the full and equal participation of women and men, no country, community, or economy can achieve its potential or meet the challenges of the 21st century," Nena Stoiljkovic, vice-president of Blended Finance and Partnerships at IFC, said.
Childcare is part of the solution, she said, citing the report's case studies of companies offering various childcare options.
Childcare could result in a triple-win situation for employees and their children, employers, and economies. When companies support childcare, they can hire and retain talent and boost profits, and a childcare provision can enable more women and men to participate in paid labor, according to the report.
More Chinese companies are following suit.
In April, JD.com, one of China's largest e-commerce giants, started to provide free childcare services for their staff at its Beijing headquarters.
In the last summer, ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing hired professional kindergarten teachers to look after its employees' children in the office building. It spared the staff from busy schedules so they can concentrate more on their jobs.
Fueling the trend is the rising recognition among policymakers globally about the business and development impact of children.
China's Ministry of Education released a guideline to urge local authorities to set up more public kindergartens and support privately-run ones. Special funds should be allocated to finance preschool education, according to the guideline.
About 70 percent of Chinese professional women asked for their parents' help to take care of their children, partly due to high babysitting fees, according to an investigation conducted by the Shanghai Federation of Trade Unions. A majority of those surveyed are in favor of companies and public institutions running their own nursery and kindergarten.
"There are obvious advantages for enterprises and public institutions to set up kindergarten for their employees. Staff save their time and energy. Children, who grow up in similar home environment, tend to have less conflicts with each other. That's good for their development," said Qin Tao, associate professor at East China University of Science and Technology.
(Source: China Daily)
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