New child care incentive looks to attract talent to Montgomery County small businesses

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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — A new incentive may soon be coming to small businesses in Montgomery County. It aims to lessen the burden of being a working parent and attract talented professionals.

The majority of Montgomery County’s workforce is employed by small businesses. A study by the county’s Chamber of Commerce found that those employees had common concerns.

“Reliable and affordable childcare emerged very quickly as a front runner,” said Tricia Swanson of MCCC.

The county says the cost of reliable, local childcare can top $30,000 a year. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says childcare shouldn’t account for more than seven percent of a family’s income. Bill 9-20 looks to ease the cost of being a working parent in Montgomery County.

“To compete for talent with our surrounding jurisdictions and across the nation, Montgomery County must differentiate itself in the marketplace and child care should absolutely be a part of that discussion,” Swanson said.

The bill would let small businesses use grant money from the county to make a matched contribution to an employee’s dependent flexible spending account, or FSA.

“This really raises up the entire pie, so that we can have more economic development opportunities here in the county,” said councilmember Gabe Albornoz.

The county would match up to 50% of the amount of child care contributions paid by the business to employees who make less than $125,000 a year.

“The cost of enrolling kids in unsubsidized early learning centers is often a deciding factor for the middle class, younger employees, whether they’re gonna leave or return to the workforce after having children,” said Kathy Stevens of Montgomery Moving Forward.

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