75% of Indian women drop out of the workforce for childcare just before they are about to enter the most productive years of their career. This is a significant cost for organizations,whichend up losing its committed talent pool. The Indian Government has taken cognizance of this and through the Maternity Benefits Amendment Act, 2017 they have mandated crèche facility for establishment with 50 and more employees. Maharashtra and other states(viz Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala) haveprovided clarification on crèche guidelines, emphasising Govt’s commitment on implementation of this.
1. Prevailing daycare models provided by India Inc
There are various models adopted by corporate India based on their requirements. Here are some of the prevalent ones.
Onsite daycare – An exclusive facility set up in the office premises only for employees. In this kind of an arrangement, the organization partners with a specialised childcare service company. Typically the set up and infrastructure cost is borne by the corporate and the operating partner runs the daycare. Companies invest in onsite daycare when they have an assured sizeable demand for this benefit. Most of the leading FMCG companies like Hindustan Unilever, Godrej, Asian Paints, Loreal, Godrej have onsite daycares in their Head Office which are operated by Klay PrepSchools and Daycare. Many of the leading Banks like Standard Chartered, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank have onsite daycare in their Head Office.
Near-site daycare – In case an onsite model is not feasible because of space constraint in the premises or absence of a sizeable mass of employees who want to use the facility, companies opt for a nearby daycare centre. Organizations like Adobe, Microsoft, Wipro, BCG have near site daycare tie-ups. 78% of companies look at nearsite daycare tie-ups as it requires no or limited capex. For the nearsite approach, KLAY has tied up with HUL, Adobe, KPMG, Citibank, Intuit
Multiple tie-up/ club membership approach – In this arrangement, the corporate ties up with multiple daycare centers to provide a range of options to their employees. The tie-up can be with a single partner who runs multiple centres or with multiple partners.Cognizant Accenture, IBM and many IT companies have tie-ups with daycare companies for their employees. Accenture, IBM, Genpact, Texas Instruments, InMOBI, Juniper, Oracle, Arvind Lifestyle Brands, Thomson Reuters are some of the companies which have done multiple tie-ups with Klay Preschools and Daycare.
In all the above arrangement, the corporates provide varying degrees of financial support for eg. Capex in case of onsite daycare, subsidy on fees, full funding of the fees and reimbursement against expenses.
2. Factors that companies need to consider
ProEves dipstick survey on crèche benefit reveals that companies consider distance (proximity to daycare from the office), safety and pricing as three important factors while making the daycare decision.
Distance – ProEves analyzed daycare catchment across 100 commercial complexes spanning 7 key cities (including Mumbai (MNMT), Delhi, Pune, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata). The findings reveal that only 17 percent of commercial areas have quality daycares in less than 1 km radius. 41% of companies are looking at daycare tie-ups within less than 3km, 3 – 5 km.
Priya Krishnan, CEO, Klay Prepschools and Daycare states that “Organizations should look at demographic and travel distances to decide on daycare facility and not necessarily on the governmental guidelines alone, if they want to retain staff”
Safety – With respect to safety, companies look for presence of security guards, access controlled entry, CCTV surveillance, fire and emergency handling process and verified staff.
Pricing – Companies are increasingly looking at fully funding this benefit and expect an increased in utilisation of the benefit. Hence, cost is an important consideration for them as quality daycare is an expensive benefit esp in Tier 1 cities.
Apart from these companies need to keep the following parameters in mind while selecting the crèche/daycare partner
1. Experience of the daycare partner – Check if the daycare partner running its own retail centers for parents or partners with other corporates in providing daycare to its employees. The partner should have experience in running the centre for infants, hiring and training teachers and staff and improving its processes
KLAY has a PAN India Presence in the cities of Bangalore, NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai and currently has 75 Retail centers and 50 Corporate centers
2. References from parents –It is important to check and if possible visit the daycare centers that the partner runs. The partner should be willing to provide you references of its parents that use the centre
3. References from clients – It is important to check from other organizations who have tied-up with the daycare partner for onsite/ near site daycare. Specifically to check feedback around governance and grievance handing by the daycare.
4. Safety and emergency handling – Check for safety provisions viz. security at entrance and exit, child proof infrastructure, CCTV surveillance, emergency and incident handling processes.
5. Quality and adequacy of teacher and staff – Teachers and staff should be equipped to handle children. Adult: child ratio should be high, almost 1:1 or 1:2 for infants.
6. Control on processes – The daycare partner should have control over the running of its centres and various processes across all locations. Even if the nature of ownership is Franchisee or Company owned centres, there has to be regular monitoring and review of the centre
All of the centers across India are fully owned and operated by KLAY PrepSchools and DayCare ( under the parent company Founding Years Learning Solutions)
7. Holistic child development – The daycare needs to provide beyond care. 0 – 6 years are critical for child’s brain and overall development. The curriculum should be age appropriate and cater to physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of the child
8. Parent interaction –The centre should have regular interaction with parents and promptly inform the parent about the child’s day at the centre so that the parent feels comfortable at all times
9. Supplier funding and ability to scale with requirements – Check for the partner’s size and scale. They should be able to provide daycare at multiple locations where your offices, branches, factories are present
There are various options available for companies both near site and onsite daycare. It is important that companies take a well rounded decision, not just based on cost parameters. Research shows that crèche/ daycare benefit goes a long way in ring fencing critical talent in their crucial years when they need childcare support