Agencies Reminded To Use Federal Child Care Subsidy Program

The heads of executive departments and agencies were sent a memo recently reminding them they can use funds to directly subsidize licensed child care for lower income federal employees.

Memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies: if you have lower income federal workers who have child care needs – help them. In fact, not enough of you are making use of available funds that can be used to directly subsidize licensed child care, according to a memo recently sent by Office of Personnel Management Acting Director Dan G. Blair.

Blair said the legislation, called the Federal Child Care Subsidy Program (FCCSP), was implemented in 23 agencies and departments in 2003. Last year, 29 agencies and departments participated, assisting more than 2,800 federal employees pay for licensed child care for more than 3,500 children nationwide.

“The FCCSP is a useful program which agencies can utilize to recruit and retain employees,” Blair wrote.

Additionally, most employees in the executive branch and employees of non-executive branch agencies that have adopted the Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS) Program (or their own FSA program) can elect a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA). Employees can contribute up to $5,000 annually per household ($2,500 if married filing separately) in pre-tax dollars from their salary into a DCFSA.

“A DCFSA is especially attractive because it helps pays for eligible dependent care expenses, including childcare and eldercare, so that an employee – and his/her spouse, if married – can work, look for work, or attend school full-time,” Blair stated in the memo.

“I commend those agencies currently participating in the FCCSP. However, there is still more to be done to expand this program across the government. I urge you to explore the applicability of the FCCSP to your agency, and wherever possible, to implement it as part of your plan to further your agency’s human capital goals.

“I also encourage you to re-evaluate your agency’s efforts to educate federal employees about the FCCSP and DCFSA under the FSAFEDS program or your agency’s own FSA program. Many more employees are eligible to benefit from these programs than are currently doing so. I enlist your support in providing encouragement and education about these programs to your employees,” Blair stated.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47