Starbucks to offer backup child care benefits to employees

Starbucks to offer backup child care benefits to employees

(Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Starbucks will begin offering backup child care benefits to its employees.

Starbucks announced the new benefit on Tuesday, saying it partnered with Care.com to offer 10 subsidized backup child care days each year for its U.S. company-owned store employees.

“This is giving our partners resources for things that happen in regular life. We wanted to give them something to help fill in the gaps,” said Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks.

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The benefit program, called Care@Work, also offers employees a free premium membership to Care.com, which usually costs about $150 a year.

During the offered subsidized child care days, employees will pay $1 an hour for in-home child care or $5 a day per child for in-center care.

One Starbucks employee, Jessica Strubhar, a mother who has three children, said she’s grateful for the support from Starbucks.

“It gives me a lot of peace of mind,” Strubhar said. “Something is always going to come up.”

Data from the National Survey of Children's Health in 2016 and the Center for American Progress found that nearly 2 million parents of children age 5 and younger had to quit a job, not take a job or greatly change their job because of problems with child care.

National KIDS COUNT data showed that, from 2008 through 2017, 64 to 66 percent of children under age 6 had all available parents in the labor force.

Below, see and scroll to use the graph with that data.

In addition to child care, the program offers employees resources that help with senior care planning.

Starbucks cited research from a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute that found one in five U.S. workers said they were providing assistance to older relatives and friends.

Nearly 70 percent of those who provided assistance said they had to take time off or make work adjustments because of their caregiving.

"Historically, everyday caring for ill family members was undertaken as an expected role by women within the privacy of the extended family and in a given community," the AARP Public Policy Institute report found. "As a consequence, it was largely ignored and rarely viewed as a public issue."

In 2017, Starbucks announced it was donating unsold food to Seattle-area shelters and food banks, noting a positive impact on struggling families.

Food is provided to food banks in White Center, to the homeless shelter Mary’s Place and to other social service organizations around the city.

In the first year of Starbucks' FoodShare program, an estimated 3 million meals were given to food banks.

“A parent can put a Starbucks sandwich in their child’s lunch and know the child will feel proud to unpack that lunch,” Laura Olson, senior manager of global social impact at Starbucks, said. “We’ve heard about responses from guests of the food banks about being able to provide something special for their child -- even though they are facing challenges."

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