The pandemic has been a challenging time, especially for those who’ve recently entered parenthood. With daycares not fully functional, managing work along with home and childcare became tough. No other company has separately announced a policy to pay employees specifically for nanny services.
Mondelez India HR director Mahalakshmi R told TOI, “Managing work from home (WFH) for new parents is a tough task, given that creches are not open at every location. We have expanded the ‘creche benefit’ under our ‘new parents policy’ to include ‘in-house nanny services’ till such time that creches around India are operational again. This will provide greater flexibility to our colleagues in managing parenting and work.”
Hiring an in-house nanny can cost Rs 12,000-15,000 per month. ProEves co-founder Divya Agarwal said some daycares that are not currently operational are providing nanny care and teachers at home. They provide this service through their network of trained nannies and teachers to support parents.
Given that many companies are adopting a hybrid work model, people on WFH prefer to avail of creche services closer to their homes. According to ProEves — which is a leading childcare aggregator and provider of virtual care, learning & parental support benefits — most companies are geared to provide near-home creche support and they plan to communicate the same to their employees by April this year. ‘Virtual Care’, on the other hand, is also expected to continue through 2021 as part of daycare services option.
A study by ProEves indicates that 53% of the companies are extending near-home/pan-city daycare to provide benefits to WFH employees. This is higher than the 28% companies that preferred near-home daycare a year ago (December 2019-January 2020).
“With hybrid working models, companies are providing creche benefit to WFH employees by way of partnering with aggregator/multiple daycare partners. Draft rules of social security code are also endorsing this. So, we expect ‘creche from anywhere’ will be the much-needed benefit for ‘work-from-anywhere’ parents,” said Agarwal.
DBS India head of rewards Navin Chaudhary said, during the lockdown and accompanying Covid-ridden months, the firm observed that parents were not keen on enrolling their children in any daycare format (on-site/near home).
“While our on-site daycares are not operational currently, the near-home daycares are activated to support parents. However, parents are still hesitant to house their children in daycare facilities and the uptake has been rather muted,” said Chaudhary.
To support working mothers, DBS India has two on-site daycare centres and tie-ups with daycare brands across cities that it is present in. With hybrid work regimes becoming the norm, DBS believes that for daycare benefit to be meaningful, there should be increased flexibility to choose office/near-home daycare according to employees’ convenience.
“From the onset, our daycare policy is the hybrid of on-site and near-home/pan-city model. We are able to cater to varied preferences that working mothers might have. As employees are increasingly adopting a part-remote working and part-office working format, freedom to explore both daycare formats and not being restricted to one day-care centre enrollment will be a true differentiator,” said Chaudhary.
Pre-pandemic, several progressive companies paid fully or partly for the cost incurred by employees on creches. Some even bore the cost of an accompanying nanny when new mothers went on official tours along with their children up to a certain age.