Kentucky’s Employee Child Care Assistance Partnership (ECCAP) has to be one of the more interesting pieces of state legislation to appear in some time. It helps parents cover the high (and fast-rising) cost of child care. At the same time, the law helps Kentucky companies offer generous child care subsidies to attract and retain top talent. ECCAP looks like a smart piece of public policy that benefits just about everyone—and it’s just beginning to take effect now. This update has all the details.

The Basics of House Bill 499

When Kentucky employers help their employees pay for child care costs, ECCAP chips in matching funds. For example, if any employer offers a $200 a month subsidy, the state would provide $200 more, and the employee would get $400 each month (paid directly to the child care provider). The program was designed to help Kentucky parents, particularly working mothers, stay in the workforce rather than reducing hours or leaving jobs to care for children.

The program has several stipulations to be aware of:

  • Qualifying Child Care Providers – To qualify for funds, employees must send their child to a licensed child care provider that participates in the KY ALL STARS program. Some care providers aren’t licensed or forego the program, in which case the state would not provide matching funds.
  • Sliding Fund Match Scales – Employees that make less than or equal to the state median household income (SMI) of $77,700 will receive 100% matching funds, but the match goes down on a sliding scale as incomes rise higher above the SMI. At the low end, high earners with an income above $139,860 receive a 50% match.
  • Program Duration – ECCAP was designed to be a one-year pilot program, and the state has allocated $15 million in funding. Once the funding runs out or the program expires, whichever comes first, the matching funds will go away.
  • Participation Requirements – Employers must apply to participate in ECCAP by completing an application (available here), including details about the applicable employees and their child care providers. The program began accepting applications in April and expects to approve all applications within 30 days of receiving them.

Ready to get Started?

Talent gaps and labor shortages are a problem for businesses across Kentucky. At the same time, child care costs and the demands of balancing parenting life with professional life are a struggle for families statewide. ECCAP addresses both those issues, so it’s no surprise that interest in the program is expected to be brisk.

The cost of the ECCAP may be worth its savings in employee retention. Access the ECCAP website here to learn more about the program and begin your application.

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