The food giant is planning to build a facility next year.
Food processing giant Hormel started looking for child care facilities for its employees a few years ago, when the company noticed finding local child care was a problem for some of its workforce. But Hormel also ran into problems when it tried to find or recruit a center into its headquarters, reports said.
So now, the company is building its own. The company behind products like Spam and Jennie-O turkey will soon kick off construction on a $5 million child care center at its headquarters in Austin, Minn. It’s expected to open next year.
The benefit announcement comes at a pivotal time for many working parents. Child care has long been a problem for many working parents, but the issue worsened during the pandemic as child care facilities and schools temporarily shut down. As a result, many parents, notably women, exited the workforce or considered doing so. The exacerbated problem is causing some employers to roll out more benefits to help.
SHRM Online gathered additional news on the topic.
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Hormel’s facility is expected to serve up to 130 children of employees and community members.
For years, the firm noted that a lack of child care facilities was a concern among some of its employees. The firm was also concerned it was a problem for potential hires.
Hormel said it hopes the child care center can recruit and retain working parents in today’s tight labor market. “You don’t have a workforce if you don’t have child care that they’re able to rely on,” Angie Bissen, Hormel’s manager of HR business partners, told Axios.
Working Parents Want Onsite Child Care
Not only do working parents want more help from their employer when it comes to child care—like onsite child care facilities—but data shows a big employer advantage to offering such a benefit: Employee absences and job turnover decline when businesses provide child care.
Yet onsite child care was the least frequently offered family-friendly perk in an assessment of 1,700 companies, according to a report by business network The Best Place for Working Parents in Fort Worth, Texas, and Southern Methodist University’s Center on Research and Evaluation.
“Sufficiently subsidized and high-quality onsite company child care tends to have the greatest perceived value to employees and one of the highest returns to the company,” said Sadie Funk, national director of The Best Place for Working Parents.
Hormel Child Care Facility to Open in 2024
The goal of opening the 13,000 square-foot child care center is to free up potential employees, many of whom are currently stuck at home due to lack of child care, Hormel said.
“Everyone recognizes there is a need—especially for the youngest age groups,” Hormel’s Bissen said. The company’s goal is to break ground in May of this year and have the center open by April 2024. Hormel employees will have priority in securing spots, but the center will eventually be open to the surrounding community.
Expensive Child Care Is Keeping Parents Out of the Workforce
Child care problems are contributing to worker shortages in many industries, according to new research. An estimated 380,000 Americans in their prime working years—aged 25 to 54—who held jobs before the pandemic no longer do, according to estimates from Bank of America. A big reason for that, experts said, is due to a lack of affordable and quality child care.
The problem is more prevalent among lower-income employees who work in sectors like retail and restaurant.
A lack of child care—alongside other factors like concerns over COVID-19 and other illnesses and early retirements—has helped push the unemployment rate to a 53-year low at the start of the year, analysts said.
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