- Hy-Vee is partnering with child care network WeeCare to offer employees access to in-home providers, the grocer announced on Wednesday.
- Eligible workers, including full-time employees, can use WeeCare’s services to find in-home child care options in both rural and urban areas.
- Hy-Vee is adding the benefit as grocers around the country look to boost employee ranks amid a labor shortage and as the pandemic continues to limit childcare options.
Child care assistance isn’t a common benefit among retailers and other businesses. Only 7% of companies provide child care assistance to workers, Jessica Chang, CEO of WeeCare, said in the announcement.
Hy-Vee’s partnership with WeeCare comes at a time when grocers are not only reevaluating their benefits to remain competitive, but also when employees are facing child care challenges. The Midwestern grocer is also offering its employees free membership and unlimited access to Care.com to find caregivers, tutors, people to run errands, pet walkers and workers for other care services.
“Many of our employees are parents or caregivers, and having affordable, trustworthy child care when they come to work every day helps give them peace of mind,” Hy-Vee Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker said in the announcement.
As the child care industry grapples with its own staffing shortages, parents face barriers to returning to work. Child care limitations was one of the top three hiring challenges facing grocers, along with stimulus payments and competition among businesses for a smaller candidate pool, H-E-B President Craig Boyan noted during the Food Industry Association’s Midsummer Strategic Executive Exchange in June. Boyan said many parents struggle with finding child care because many facilities closed during the pandemic.
Grocers, including Hy-Vee, are also considering what other benefits can attract and retain workers. With the rise of gig work and demand for flexible hours, Hy-Vee added a flex worker position late last year, mainly for its online shopping service, and has since hired more than 1,000 workers in that role, the grocer previously told Grocery Dive.