All parents face choices when deciding to return to work, as they try to balance the needs of their children with the demands of family finances and careers. A new PORSE Employer Partnership Programme aims to simplify the balancing act and support parents returning to work.
The initiative gives businesses both big and small an opportunity to support employees back into work with in-home childcare subsidies for staff.
MidCentral District Health Board welcomes the scheme and has teamed up with PORSE to find in-home childcare for many of its shift workers.
Nearly 20 DHB employees have come on board, with many more keen to take up the opportunity.
Human Resources Manager Lisa Henson says connecting with PORSE has been a no-brainer.
“Our staff work shifts and often have issues finding adequate childcare. Sometimes they are here really early or finish late and many centres aren’t open at these times, so the flexibility of in-home childcare works.”
The DHB offered existing staff the opportunity and sees potential to use the partnership as an incentive to attract new staff in future.
“From our point of view it’s a great thing for staff to have childcare they can trust and rely on; it allows them to relax and focus when they are at work,” says Lisa.
Palmerston North PORSE Consultant Hannah Read has welcomed the positive response from the DHB.
“When families aren’t eligible for subsidies through Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ), childcare costs can be a large portion of their income, so businesses see the initiative as a good opportunity to help wages go further, as well as providing families with more flexibility.
“Our educators are more than happy to accommodate people working difficult hours where they can.”
Parents can expect to save up to $45 a week with the subsidies and reduced fees.
The Employer Partnership Programme has been popular, with businesses signing on from Whangarei to Invercargill.
It’s not just large companies coming on board - small to medium businesses are keen to get involved too.
Auckland-based ecostore sees it as a way to simplify life for their staff. Community and Relationships Manager Isa Corbett says it’s a practical and simple way to support the team.
“We have staff in our ecostore shop, head office and factory - no matter where they are based this is something we feel they can benefit from,” says Isa.
“It’s been a really simple process for us, all we had to do was let everyone know.”
Their relationship with PORSE is a long-standing one,
and extends both ways.
Free samples from ecostore’s baby range appear in PORSE welcome bags, which are handed out to parents as they enrol with PORSE.
“We see it as a two way street - we are able to get in front of people who we know will love using our products and our employees have the option of affordable in-home childcare - it’s a win-win!”
Auckland PORSE Consultant Samantha Metcalfe says there are many benefits for both parents and employers.
“Through the programme we are giving businesses an opportunity to pass on significant discounts to their staff at no cost to the business,” she says.
“There are training courses and workshops on offer as well as free weekly PlaySchool, music sessions and outings.”
Businesses who want to join can simply contact PORSE. The only requirement for parents is a minimum enrolment of 15 hours per week.
“Staff are able to ask their employers to sign up if they haven’t already, and those who have children currently enrolled with us are also eligible for the discount should their employers sign onto the programme,”