If you have staff with kids chances are they want to know what discount their kids get …

In addition to keeping attendance high and offering staff consistent hours, a daycare staff childcare discount is another great idea. On top of your superb management, of course, employees are the people who keep a daycare center running smoothly. You don’t want to contribute to a situation where many daycare workers can’t even afford childcare for their own kids. Having care for those who care for our kids is a logical and natural thing! So, offering your employees’ kids a discount is a smart move. Having said that, there are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to this practice. Here’s five:

1. DO offer a fair daycare staff childcare discount

This all depends on your business model and your own decisions as a provider. A fair discount could range from 30% to 40% for teaching staff and higher for higher-ranking staff like regional directors or assistant directors. It could also be balanced with paid vacation time (as in less / or no tuition discount in return for more paid vacation). Offering a discount will increase staff loyalty and dependability. It’s a sure thing your staff will show up for a shift when it’s not only where they work, it’s where their kid is enrolled. Staff discount can also increase as years are put in. So in addition to the base discount it could increase by 5% for each additional year of employment up to 5 years or a maximum discount, for example. This sounds pricey, but it can be more than worth it for the staff retention advantage. Another limit you may want to have is the number of kids a staff member can have enrolled, say two. You don’t want your whole daycare to become staff looking after their kids at 50% off!

2. DON’T bend the rules for individual staff needs

Maybe one of your staff just had to move and is really tight on money. Maybe another just ran into a financial problem and needs a hand up with finding cheaper care for their kid for a few months. As their employer of course you sympathize. That said, you shouldn’t bend the rules and offer huge daycare staff childcare discounts to one employee that you wouldn’t offer to others. Even if you agree to keep it between you, news like this tends to get out. Be consistent. If you offer a deal to one employee, offer it to all. Compassion and empathy, yes. Rule-bending that could put your business model underwater, no.

3. DO differentiate between full and part-time staff

In other words you can offer a much smaller discount to part-time staff. It’s still a good idea to offer something, as this builds loyalty and incentivizes staff to enroll their youngster at your daycare center. But, if you run quite a large daycare center, you may employ many part-time staff. You can’t afford to give them all major discounts or enroll two kids each. You need to put the business first. So, offer moderate discounts, but keep your wits about you.

4. DON’T change your offer after it’s in progress

If your staff member’s kid is now attending but you need more space, don’t tell her he can’t attend anymore. If you offered a discount and her kid a place, honor that agreement until the agreed upon end date. It can be a good idea to talk about what kind of a discount you’re going to offer with your accountant, investors or a business partner. This is an important business decision that’s going to impact your bottom line and your work culture.

A daycare staff childcare discount isn't always what's useful to an employee. Consider paid vacation time instead for those who don't need childcare.5. DO balance out any daycare staff childcare discount with a paid vacation time option …

Maybe you have gone through the books and held a staff meeting and childcare discounts aren’t a priority. If some staff would rather extra paid vacation time and others would rather a childcare discount, accommodate them! You don’t want a childless employee to feel like they are getting the short end of the stick. You want each employee to feel they’re getting a fair and advantageous benefit to their employment. After all, building staff morale is very important.

Here’s what I offer in terms of daycare staff childcare discounts at my daycare centers …

My daycare center staff childcare discount system is gradated. In other words, the higher up you are the bigger a discount you get. Directors, regional managers and above get 80% off care for their infants and toddlers and 90% off care for their two-year-olds and school agers. Assistant directors get 65% off for infants and toddlers, 75% off for twos and school-agers.My regular teaching staff receives 50% off for infants and toddlers and 60% off for two-year-olds and school agers. I’d like to say I’m generous, and it’s true, but I also know that it’s good business practice to offer incentivizing, strong discounts to my loyal staff. We’re all a team at the end of the day!

Generosity pays off in the end … within reason!

Offering a daycare staff childcare discount can be a solid business practice. It encourages loyalty, job satisfaction and dependability. Having said that, be careful about going overboard here or not establishing clear limits. In spite of being willing to offer some perks, you are still a for-profit business!

Author: Hopping In Blog

Sholom Strick is an expert on the business of running daycare centers and founder of Hopping In, a tool that helps daycare centers earn more when children are absent.

To contact him or for media inquiries email s.strick@daycareteam.com

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