If you ask any of your employees what their priorities are outside of work, odds are that family would be the top of the list for most of them. Even if employees don’t have children or a family of their own yet, they likely consider that a high priority for their future.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 90% of families with children have at least one parent working full-time. With that being said, one of the best ways you can support your employees is by offering benefits focused around families. Not only will that give you a competitive edge when looking to attract and retain talent, it shows your employees that you actually view them as three-dimensional people with responsibilities outside of work.
For example, let’s hypothesize two employees that have similar roles at two similar companies. Both have a parent who is recovering from a major surgery. Both have a child at home with special needs. When they both get a phone call saying their child with special needs has to be rushed to the emergency room with complications that will lead to a hospital stay. Employee A is told to take the next six weeks off as per the family leave policy and not worry about work in the meantime. Employee B is told that their deadlines must be met regardless of extenuating circumstances and any time off taken will count towards allotted PTO.
Now these are two extreme scenarios, but they highlight the impact that the right benefits can have on employees with families to care for. Here are the family-friendly benefits your organizations should be offering:
Flextime. Flextime as an umbrella term encompasses anything from working remotely to compressing the workweek, or just adjusting their work hours as necessary. This lets caregivers accommodate any needs of children or family members without having to take PTO. Take some time to review your positions and see if there are areas where flexibility can be increased.
Paid family leave. Only a small percentage of private sector employers offer a formal paid leave. Employers should be going beyond basic maternity leave to address the different roles that people can have in their families. This includes offering plans for paternity, adoption leave, medical leave, and family leave to care for an elderly or disabled family member.
Dependent Care FSAs. Dependent care plans allow employees to use pre-tax dollars to pay for expenses like daycare, camp, home care, and more. These accounts are a great way for employees to save money on the expenses they are undertaking as well as ensure that all costs are accounted for through either reimbursements or the use of a dedicated debit card. Employees can even contribute funds throughout the year in order to save up for summertime child care, which is a financial burden for most families.
Fertility coverage. Fertility treatments support nontraditional families and those who cannot otherwise have children. Fertility coverage can help ease the tremendous financial burden of such treatments, which is often a cause of stress that often leads to reduce productivity and increased absenteeism. It’s slowly becoming a more mainstream benefit that improves company culture and helps employees feel supported.
The goal of any benefit offering should be to help your employees feel comfortable and secure in major areas of their lives. With family as a top priority for majority of employees, offering family-friendly benefits is an important way to do that.