Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Childcare benefits, grant funds for promoting better jobs and employee absenteeism during cold and flu season are on the docket today. Let’s take a look!
Childcare benefits rare but valuable for small biz workforce
A new survey and report suggests that only 6% of U.S. businesses provide childcare benefits as part of their compensation packages. While many small businesses can’t afford to offer this particular benefit, there are other options for supporting your employees with children. Providing options for flexible scheduling, working from home, and tax-free childcare savings accounts all help relieve the burden of finding reliable and affordable childcare for working parents.
The Number: 70%. The lack of childcare benefits is a real problem for the U.S. workforce, with 70% of families reporting that they spend more than 10% of their income on childcare.
The Quote: “Many women believe that balancing taking time off and paying for childcare makes advancing at work too difficult and contributes to their feelings that not everyone has the same opportunity to advance.”
Grant funds dedicated to help Workforce Fund promote better jobs
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded the National Fund for Workforce Solutions a $2.1 million grant to “help identify the main factors that influence small and medium businesses to design better jobs that improve workers’ economic mobility and also deliver business benefits.” The organization will look at jobs across a range of industries, including food service and hospitality, manufacturing, and long-term care facilities.
The Number: 5. The grant money will help the National Fund work with 5 partner communities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, and Wichita.
The Quote: “Given that about half of the U.S. workforce is employed by small and medium businesses, understanding why some of them choose to make their jobs better — or why they don’t — could be transformative.”
Sick employees hobble small businesses
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that employee absenteeism during cold and flu season can seriously hinder small business operations. For companies with only a handful of specialized employees, losing even 1 or 2 workers to illness can have a devastating impact on productivity and the organization’s ability to deliver? The solution? Encourage employees to get their flu shot, tell sick workers to stay home and for — goodness sakes — WASH YOUR HANDS.
The Number: 2. All but 2 out of 50 states have reported widespread flu outbreaks as of the middle of the month. If the past 3 decades are an accurate indicator, the number of cases will continue to increase until peaking in February.
The Quote: “Nothing harms our ability to hit deadlines more than a spreading flu through the ranks of our staff members.”