The events of 2020 have put remarkable strain on working parents. Women are in danger of losing their careers as they leave the workforce in unprecedented numbers to serve as caregivers. Kids need more attention in a time of remote learning. Older family members benefit from help, too.
A long-term shift may be underway as more families consolidate into multi-generational households under one roof. For right now, however, businesses – especially small business owners – must focus their attention on preventing “brain drain” from the loss of some of their best employees.
Employee benefits are a major investment, of course, and not every enterprise has the funds to expand their programs at a time like this. However, some of the leading companies in fast-moving industries are taking the initiative. Their goal: To support working parents with attractive employee benefits.
Parents Will Eye Employee Benefits Like Never Before In 2021 And Beyond
Up until recently, employee benefits for working parents were the exception rather than the rule.
Many companies have been woefully unprepared to support parents within their workforce, which is unfortunate for more reasons than one. With outside childcare costing families thousands of dollars a year, this is one of the employee benefits that stands to have an outsized financial impact.
Just how bad is the cost of childcare? In 2018, Fortune reported that childcare costs more than college tuition in 28 U.S. states. The average annual cost was between $9,000 and $9,600 that year. Center-based infant care cost less than $10,000 in only eight states. It cost below $8,000 in only one state.
Like the cost of commuting – anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 annually – the cost of childcare has long been one of those things employees are simply expected to absorb. However, 2020 has upended much of employee benefits orthodoxy. This may be one of the assumptions that gets a second look.
With the ability to leverage economies of scale, companies have the opportunity to reduce employees’ childcare costs by a factor of many times what the business actually invests. That, in turn, means more sectors of the economy benefit from employee spending. Pay raises, on the other hand, may be sought after with less vigor because a major, unavoidable fixed cost is no longer increasing every year.
It is no surprise that one of the main reasons to institute great employee benefits is to win long-term loyalty from the most skilled employees. The effect of employee benefits is especially noteworthy in high tech sectors where personnel have plenty of opportunities.
From that perspective, what could be better than employee benefits that people are genuinely grateful for – the kind that make a positive difference in almost every aspect of a family’s lifestyle?
Spotlight On Three Companies Leaving Their Imprint On Family Benefits
With the potent market advantages they already command, a few select companies are going above and beyond when it comes to employee benefits for parents. Enterprises of all sizes have something to learn from these examples as the time comes to engineer employee benefits policies for the future:
1. PwC Adds New Family-Friendly Employee Benefits For Virtual Back-To-School
Management consulting firm PwC is no stranger to bold strategic moves – its partners advise some of the highest-grossing ventures worldwide to uncover new competitive advantages. But keeping employees’ minds and eyes on the work at hand is a fundamental job that can’t be overlooked.
With that in mind, PwC’s “people experience” leaders rolled out a number of core changes:
- Protected Time: Employees can define hours when colleagues should not contact them
- Reduced Schedules: Full-time employees can optionally switch to a part-time schedule
- Compressed Workweek: Employees can choose to operate on a 4-day working week
- Flex-Time: Employees can choose their own daily start time
- Sabbatical: Employees may receive 20% of their pay for up to six months of leave
- Backup Care: PwC contracts with a company for last-minute child or elder care
- Tutoring: Discounted tutoring is available from a variety of approved services
Facilitating easier backup care in combination with cost reimbursement allows PwC personnel to react effectively to the unexpected. There’s no telling how many hours of valuable productivity could be saved as a result, but these programs are sure to have a major impact on those who use them.
2. Salesforce Goes The Extra Mile To Support Working Mothers
Salesforce is a world leader in the Customer Relationship Management space and an advocate for the modern concept of software as a service. As more mothers have faced tough decisions about their career trajectory, Salesforce has ramped up its internal feedback mechanisms for additional guidance.
At the same time, the company is moving toward more schedule flexibility and an even more robust parental leave policy. In one case, an employee received a promotion while on maternity leave, part of the firm’s commitment to keeping personnel engaged and on track with their talent development goals.
New mothers face some harsh financial demands right when they are at greatest risk of stalling in their careers. With its forward-looking approach, Salesforce helps to ensure that employees will be more communicative about their goals and needs. That benefits the entire team in the long run.
3. Stork Club Innovates In Maternity Care For Today’s Families
Stork Club is a parental benefits startup with a mission to help businesses enable their employees to build families on their own terms. It provides supplemental insurance for a variety of family planning and medical services not covered under typical insurance policies.
A San Francisco-based company, its coverage equips women to manage the complexities of fertility and maternity care. It is just one example of the next generation of employee benefits entrants providing fresh ways of looking at the employer’s role in a family’s total well-being.
The Two Employee Benefits That Matter Most To Growing Families
Since most companies will not be opening an on-site daycare any time soon, it is up to your employee benefits experts to craft the best strategy from the available options. Luckily, you can deliver benefits that really resonate while actively controlling your investment in new programs.
Of all the employees benefits that can make a difference for a growing family, two stand out.
The first is flexible hours and scheduling – including healthy amounts of parental leave. This enables parents to focus on their children when it matters the most and maintain their presence during so many formative experiences. Employees will value those memories and appreciate your willingness to adapt.
The second is – and remains, based on both past and recent research – healthcare coverage.
Anyone who has navigated a pregnancy over the last year has been confronted with the twin truths that life is both fragile and precious. A sound healthcare policy stands out among all other employee benefits as a bulwark of safety and stability when the unexpected strikes.
Not satisfied with what you’ve seen on the ACA marketplace? To find out about ACA alternative healthcare options, contact our team today.