For the past ten years, company nurseries have been widely promoted as they provide an important option to boost performance and improve quality of life when an employee starts or expands a family. Companies, both big and small, are just as supportive of nurseries as their employees are.
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How is a company nursery born?
Aurélie Jean (GEM ESC 2003) is in charge of developing company nurseries for People & Baby in the Alpes Maritimes region. As the leader of online nursery networks (crechespourtous.com), People & Baby brings together more than 1,000 partners that are approved by the French social system and used by SMEs. The GEM alumni explains: "We are often contacted by future parents who work for an SME or major company. They connect us with the human resources department in order to set up an inter-company nursery solution. In other cases, a company will contact us as part of their social responsibility strategy to improve the quality of life of employees and gender equality."
600 companies and 80 local authorities
Created in 2004, People & Baby is a private initiative that was cofounded by Odile Broglin and Christophe Durieux. It's the first private nursery company in France and is owned 100% by its co-founders. The company currently employs 3,000 professionals of the baby industry and collaborates with 600 partner companies including startups, SMEs and major companies such as Thales and HP. In 2016, the company welcomed 7,500 babies in its 260 nurseries. The company's national network of nursery solutions is continuing to grow to meet the demands of companies and employees.
"For parents, a group nursery solution is important in terms of finances and organization. But beyond that, nursery solutions directly impact on the productivity of employee-parents. This is all the more true because fathers are becoming more invested in childcare, and in general, such solutions help limit conflicts between professional and private life. Employees are grateful and feel valued when companies take into account such organizational challenges. These solutions are an effective means for companies to earn the loyalty of employees with high-value skills. Company nurseries are also powerful images for a company's social responsibility strategy and an important part of policies that encourage gender equality and quality of life at work," explains Aurélie.
What is the added value of a company nursery?
- They reduce and even eliminate absenteeism by employees who recently became parents. Company nurseries can welcome sick children. A nursery's director is often a childcare worker who is certified to give a child medicine.
- They are important arguments that help differentiate startups and SMEs that are looking to attract high potential recruits.
- They guarantee a nursery spot for their child at the same price as a public nursery. Company nurseries are more flexible in terms of their schedule and they can more easily cope with complex issues such as recurring children's diseases.
- They provide support for parents to start work again without taking parental vacation, which has had a particularly negative impact on the careers of female workers. They offer flexible and reliable childcare and even "emergency" childcare when for example a nanny is unexpectedly absent.
Government support for company nurseries
In 2003, France decided to help overcome a lack of public nurseries by opening the market up to private nurseries. In 2006, private nurseries accounted for 1,000 spots, in 2009, for 8,000 spots, 20,000 spots in 2012 and 40,000 spots in 2016. The government also provided companies with a tax cut that will reduce nursery costs by 50%. In addition, company taxes were reduced overall to help lower the burden. The government can also pay for up to 83% of the cost of a private nursery. As a result, the cost for parents is identical to public nurseries. However, private nurseries include additional services such as milk and diapers. At least half of all nursery food is also taken from organic sources.