GSA Launches Pilot To Assist Employees with Child Care Expenses-- Correction
March 16, 2000
Contact: Eleni Martin
WASHINGTON - In partnership with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), the U.S. General Services Administration is rolling out a tuition subsidy pilot to help make child care more affordable for its lower-income employees. GSA offices nationwide are committed to supporting this subsidy for all qualified employees.
"Child care simply costs too much for many workers," said GSA Administrator David J. Barram. "Rates vary across the country, from about $3,800 to over $12,000 per year depending on the location of the center and the age of the child. We believe that in the long run, this program will help GSA employees to find a balance, to provide for quality early education for their children in healthy and safe environments, and to become better, more productive workers knowing that they can afford to put their children in good hands. I am proud that GSA is one of the first Federal agencies to seize this opportunity, for we see it as part of our continued commitment to work/life issues."
When Susan Clampitt, GSA's Associate Administrator for Child Care, surveyed the GSA workforce, she found that nearly 500 of GSA's lower-income employees indicated that they have young children in need of care. Under Office of Personnel Management regulations, GSA will be able to subsidize the cost of child care in licensed child care centers and family child care homes for children.
"I'm really enthused about this because child care subsidies will be a great benefit to many of the employees we represent," said Carl Yates, President of AFGE Council 236. "We worked in partnership with the agency in developing this initiative, and GSA should be commended for moving out so quickly on it."
"This is a good example of what the union and the agency can accomplish when they work together," said Jack Hanley, President of the NFFE Council of GSA Locals. "Affordable child care is an important issue for us, and we're hoping to use this success as a model for working cooperatively in the future on other issues affecting the GSA workforce."
Total family income will be the basis for determining eligibility for GSA's child care subsidy -- $35,000 for a family with one dependent child and incremental increases of $3,000 for each additional dependent child, as the threshold for support. For example, a family with three dependent children, could earn up to $41,000 and still be eligible for the program. Parents will be required to provide proof of income and proof of enrollment of their children in a licensed child care facility.
Parents who meet the family income level threshold and who pay more than 10 percent in child care costs can apply for the subsidy. GSA will pay the difference between what parents pay for their children's child care and 10 percent of the total family income. Payments will be made directly to child care providers.
If a family with two children under six and a total family income of $36,000 is paying a total of $800 a month, or $9,600 a year, in child care expenses, then the subsidy would be $500 a month, or $6,000 a year. This represents the difference between the total child care cost ($9,600) and 10% of the total family income ($3,600). A payment of $500 (or 1/12 of $6,000) would be made each month directly to the licensed provider. The family would reduce their monthly out-of-pocket cost from $800 to $300.
The application form for GSA's child care subsidy is expected to be published in the Federal Register on March 17.
The legislation which makes this possible expires at the end of FY 2000, and in order for the subsidy program to be continued, the amendment must be re-authorized.