One option that employers may be interested in is offering a Dependent Care Flex Spending Account (DCFSA). This is a pre-tax benefit that employees can use to pay for eligible dependent care services for the elderly or children under the age of 13. Employees can contribute up to $5000 per year of pre-tax dollars that can be used to help pay for preschool, nannies, summer day camps, before or after school programs, & child or adult daycare.

By allowing employees to set aside pre-tax dollars, employees can save an average of 30% in taxes a year; additionally, when employees have a reduction in taxable income these same savings are passed on to the employer as well. This is a low-cost (to the employer) benefit that can be offered to all employees.

While the cost of administering a DCFSA program to your organization is minimal, it can sometimes create a burden on the Human Resources Department.

DCFSA funds must be spent by employees by the end of the calendar year, thus resulting in increased administrative work by the company should they choose to handle the DCFSA accounts themselves. Most companies offer a grace period to spend down the funds; if employees do not spend them they forfeit them back to the company). In some instances, employees have to pre-pay for services and then seek reimbursement from the company, which makes this benefit not terribly desirable; companies can opt to outsource the administrative piece of the DCFSA in which employees will receive a card that can be used to pay for the services, but they may face hurdles using that method of payment with their providers.