Earlier this week we wrote about why large tech companies, which lead the way on other parental benefits, don’t offer on-site child care at their (frequently lavish) corporate campuses.
The story was prompted by reports about Apple’s shiny new offices, which reportedly cost around $5 billion and include seemingly every luxurious perk imaginable except for on-site day care.
We hit a snag in the reporting, however. Apple doesn’t offer on-site day care, but what child care benefits does it offer?
Apple is famously tight-lipped about what happens inside its doors, and did not respond to questions about its corporate child care policies. The closest we could get was information from 2014, when Apple revamped its benefits policy under its new HR czar, Denise Young Smith.
But after the story published, we obtained a copy of Apple’s current corporate benefits policies relating to child care. This policy is for corporate workers and does not cover retail employees at Apple’s stores.
Apple offers up to 18 weeks of paid time off and an additional six weeks of unpaid time off for birth parents. Other parents of a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child “may be eligible” for up to six weeks of paid time off and an additional six weeks of unpaid time off.
Apple doesn’t offer on-site day care, but what child care benefits does it offer?
Apple also offers a dependent day care spending program, which allows employees to set aside up to $5,000 in pre-tax dollars for day care. Finally, Apple offers ten days of “backup care” for elders and children, which can be used for emergencies or for one-off needs.
Here’s the wording from Apple’s corporate benefits policy:
New Parent Leaves
New parents are eligible for specific types of time away:
- Maternity leave: Mothers who give birth may be eligible for up to 18 weeks of fully paid time away and an additional six weeks of unpaid time away.
- Other parental leave: Parents of a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child may be eligible for up to six weeks of fully paid time away and an additional six weeks of unpaid time away.
Dependent Day Care Spending Account
The Dependent Day Care Spending Account provides tax savings to employees who need dependent day care services in order to work. You can set aside up to $5000 in before-tax dollars each year for eligible dependent day care expenses.
Backup care, provided by Bright Horizons, offers high-quality and affordable backup child and adult/elder care options when and where you need it. You’re eligible for up to 10 days of backup care per calendar year.
Apple also provides access to web-based services to help you find regular caregiving services for child care and household help, elder care, pet care, and tutoring and test prep services.
This leave is generous by national standards. According to the Department of Labor, only 12 percent of private sector employees have some kind of paid family leave.
But according to Jennifer Sabatini Fraone, director of corporate partnerships at the Boston College Center for Work & Family, these are all pretty standard benefits for a top tech company.
“Overall, the parental leave is on the generous side,” Fraone said, “but this level has become pretty much required for leading companies in the tech sector.” Google offers 18 paid weeks to the birth parent, while Microsoft offers 20.
Meanwhile, “The dependent care spending account is really just a tax benefit,” she said, “and it sounds like the backup care is paid out of the employee's pocket with no subsidy.”
That all tracks with the research done by The Outline. Of the Fortune 100 companies The Outline checked, a day care spending account was one of the most prevalent benefits. The backup care is less common with the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2016 Employee Benefits Survey indicating that only 3 percent of organizations offered such a benefit. We did not find evidence that Apple offers vouchers or subsidies for day care (although if you have this information, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org). Apple did not respond to questions.
We’ve been focused on Apple due to the high-profile nature of the California campus. But the plan for Google’s new London offices includes meditation rooms, massage rooms, and a swimming pool, but seemingly no on-site child care.