The City of Pittsburgh will soon offer child care for city employees on days when Pittsburgh Public Schools are closed but city offices remain open.
“That means for the majority of city employees who have children that are school aged, they have to choose between paying for expensive child care, leaving children at home unattended, taking days off work with days they may not afford to take off," said Councilman Dan Gilman. "It’s an added burden to our employees."
Gilman and Councilwoman Deb Gross will introduce legislation Tuesday to issue a request for proposals seeking potential child care providers.
Gilman said he also wants the company to offer free child care to residents during as many as 20 city or community meetings each year.
“Large meetings where people want to come and participate," Gilman said. "Things like our capital budget hearings or our civic leadership academy or an affordable housing public hearing. Where you have a packed city council chambers and people aren’t having their voices heard because they don’t have a childcare option."
The city ran pilots twice this fall on two days when PPS was closed, providing care in two conference rooms. He said he expects the service to cost about $50,000 a year, to be paid out of the city's general fund.
Gilman said he isn’t aware of other city governments that offer similar child care options. However, he said it's important for the city to keep up with private sector businesses that offer services in order to attract and retain talent.
“Data shows that family-friendly workplace policies reduce costly turnover and boost productivity. By offering at-work child care to our employees, the City is investing in its employees and ensuring that we continue to provide a high level of service to the residents of Pittsburgh,” he said.
Mayor Bill Peduto echoed that sentiment in an e-mailed press release.
“Providing at-work childcare is essential for attracting and retaining a talented and diverse workforce and providing on-site childcare at community meetings throughout the year will help eliminate unnecessary barriers that prevent families from investing in their communities,” he said.