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Pros and cons of child care facilities within companies

Posted July. 02, 2013 07:08,   


Around 4:20 p.m. on June 18, many grandmas filled the waiting space in front of a nursery facility located on the second floor of a company building in Seoul. Each day, the second floor is crowded with grandparents waiting for their grandchildren because parents cannot get off work to pick up children by the time the nursery facility closes.

A grandma, 60, who came all the way to pick up her four-year-old granddaughter from Bundang in Gyeonggi Province, said, “Children should be allowed to remain in the nursery home until their parents get off. Otherwise, it’s better if children go to nursery homes in their neighborhood.”

○ First key to success - operation hour

After announcing measures to increase childcare facilities at work places to help expand jobs for women and support women take balance between work and house chores, the government started to ease regulations on nursery homes.

While welcoming the announcement, working parents seem not fully satisfied. This is because the government measures do not include those for "operation hours" or "places." In other words, the point is how to operate nursery homes, not how to increase the number of the facility.

As seen from the example above, having nursery facility at work can cause inconvenience by forcing somebody to come to parents` workplace to pick up children every day if the facility closes early. In addition, if nursery homes operated by companies are not run on a local basis, children have to commute a long distance along with their parents.

Working parents say, to make childcare facility at work efficient, the facility should open at least until 10 p.m. Most of nursery homes at work, however, close between 6 to 7 p.m. A working mom, 31, said, “Most kids leave nursery home as late as 5 p.m. So I’m always worried if my child is the last one in the facility feeling left-out. I try to pick my child up by five thirty. If I can’t make it, then I ask my mother to do it for me.”

The Jeongwang Bodeumi Nanumi Children’s Home has solved the operation hour issue. The nursery home, which was donated by the Federation of Korean Industries and opened in March this year, opens 24 hours for factory workers working overtime, often overnight, or taking night shifts. Cheon Suk-hyang, nursery home director, said, “Many workers in this industrial complex work overtime until late night or take shifts of day and night. The big proportion of female workers has been considered.”

○ Second key - location

The second key to success is location. Considering the fact that not all employees live near their company building, establishing childcare facility at the headquarters may not be the best solution. A statistics show that quitting rates are higher for children using nursery homes at their parents’ company than those going to local childcare facilities. This is because commuting with parents often turn out to be too must to bear for little children. This is why childcare facilities should be established locally.

A worker at LG Electronics said, “There’s a nursery home in the headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul, but I gave up using the facility because commuting with my children from a far away home causes too much trouble.” A 34-year-old SK employee said, “I moved from Bundang, Gyeonggi Province to Hyoja-dong in downtown Seoul in order to use the nursery home at the headquarters for my children. Many of employees who cannot move close to the headquarters like me just give up using the nursery facility at work.”

As a solution to this problem, experts say that it is good to build company nursery facilities locally. To operate the system more effectively, such facilities may be operated in cooperation with local government while letting other local residents use the facilities. By doing so, company nursery homes can be run stably for a long time.

The Ami Children’s Home of SK Hynix is a case in point. SK Hynix and Icheon City opened the nursery home in July 2010. SK Hynix donated real estate so that the city government can build a nursery home.

This nursery home receives both children of SK Hynix employees and children of locals and partner companies. Working pattern of workers at the industrial complex in the region is taken into consideration when deciding operation hour. The facility runs on three shifts, from 6 a.m. through 2 p.m., from 2 p.m. through 10 p.m., from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. the next day.

SK Group recognized the successful operation of the Ami Children’s Home and decided to open another 24-hour public children’s home on the company’s real estate by October. A source at SK Group said, “SK will run nursery facilities based on these cases in the future when building new company buildings or transferring offices.”