PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A new child-care benefit to be offered at Brown University beginning this September will help qualified employees and graduate and medical students secure dependable care during the work day for their children 6 years old and younger. The University is committing $350,000 to fund subsidies under the program, which is being launched as a pilot project for the 2013-14 academic year.
The new program was designed with advice from a committee representing faculty, non-union staff, postdoctoral research associates, and graduate and medical students that has been meeting since April.
“Providing opportunities for members of the Brown community to access affordable high-quality child-care for preschool children is crucially important for many members of the University community and therefore for the University itself,” said Brown Provost Mark Schlissel. “Offering an income-adjusted child-care subsidy aligns with our commitment to being an employer of choice, and acknowledges the needs of families with young children.”
Subsidies will be available to Brown employees and students who are single parents or parents whose spouse or partner is not available to care for children during the day. Annual subsidies will range up to $4,000, with the exact amount determined by a sliding scale based on gross household income and by the number of participants. Employees must work at least two-thirds time and graduate or medical students must be enrolled at least half time in order to qualify. The subsidy is not available to households with a gross annual income of more than $100,000.
The University began a comprehensive review of the child-care benefit in the summer of 2012. An advisory committee convened by Schlissel and chaired by Andrea Simmons, professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences, prepared a report, available online, with a series of recommendations, the first of which was for creation of a child-care subsidy. Senior administrators and advisory groups will continue to study a range of other recommendations, from family-friendly adjustments of various University schedules to the examination of opportunities for new affiliations with existing childcare centers.
For this fall, the University will provide the subsidy directly to qualified applicants as taxable income. Beginning with the 2014 calendar year, employees who are eligible for the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account option may receive their subsidies in pre-tax dollars. Students, who do not qualify for the flexible spending option, and employees who choose not to exercise that option will continue to receive the subsidy as taxable income.
Applications are now being accepted for the first round of subsidies beginning in September. Application forms and additional information about the programs and its eligibility requirements are available online or from the University Benefits Office at 401-863-2009 or firstname.lastname@example.org.