For Roseburg accountant Dell Gray and his daughter, 2-year-old Makena, every day is bring your daughter to work day.
Since Gray started at Wicks Emmett CPA a year ago, he and his wife, Sarah, have put their only child in his employer’s onsite day care center.
The couple had previously juggled up to four providers at a time, sometimes jetting Makena from one to another during lunch breaks.
“It was hectic. Now, it’s easy,” Gray said.
Gray and other Wicks Emmett employees said having an onsite day care means a quicker commute, a lighter calendar and a cheaper alternative to private providers.
Wicks Emmett’s day care is in a rented two-bedroom house close to its Northeast Winchester Street office. It includes a room for nursing mothers, a fenced yard, kitchen and laundry room. It was furnished entirely by employee donations and is staffed by one full-time and one part-time worker.
And at $2.50 per child per hour, Gray said the service costs about a dollar an hour less than he paid at other Roseburg day care centers. The accountant said that adds up to $120 in savings per month.
Douglas County has 150 day cares on file, but ones at workplaces are exceedingly rare, said social worker Anna Aasen. As project coordinator for Family Connections of Lane and Douglas counties, Aasen refers Douglas County parents to day care services.
She said more employers should offer day care.
“That’s always the goal,” Aasen said. “That’s kind of our vision.”
In Oregon, a person may supervise up to three children in addition to her own before needing a day care license. Wicks Emmett’s license allows for up to six children.
Office Manager Janet Young said if the center gets licensed for 10 children, the firm could start earning money over the $675 the four managing partners pay in monthly rent.
But with six kids and five sets of parents currently using the service, Young said the program is thriving, even if it operates at a loss.
“It’s a great pull for potential employees,” said Young, who drops off her granddaughter, Aubri, 3, at the center each day.
Firm partner Laura Lusa said onsite day care can help employees avoid career conflicts.
“We have a lot of talented people who work here,” she said. “We don’t want to lose them because they can’t find high-quality child care.”
Gray said the service might come in most handy to his family during the spring tax season, when irregular hours are the norm for accountants.
“When you’re working 10-plus hours a day, six days a week, it’s great to step out once in a while and get a hug from your daughter,” he said.
• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a lot of talented people who work here. We don’t want to lose them because they can’t find high-quality child care.
Wicks Emmett CPA partner