5 Benefits That Go a Long Way to Support Working Parents
As any employed parent can attest, good work benefits go far beyond salary. Today’s parents want to work for companies that not only pay them a proper living wage, but also understand and support their evolving needs as caregivers. In fact, working parents who feel included and supported by their employers are 41% less likely to leave their job, according to a 2021 national survey, which is good for everyone.
Paid parental leave is an obvious help to new parents (after all, in America, there are zero federal laws that guarantee a new parent’s right to paid family or medical leave, which leaves workplaces to pick up the slack with their own policies). But as many companies are proving, a paid family leave policy is just a starting point when it comes to supporting new parents.
So, what workplace benefits and policies are available to families today? Here, we explore some of the perks companies are offering that give parents the support they deserve.
Chalk this up to a no-brainer statistic: 69% of women with children age 5 and younger would be more likely to accept a job offer from an employer that offered assistance with childcare expenses or provided access to on-site care. The same 2022 report also found that more than 80% of women and men noted that childcare benefits were an important factor when considering whether they’d remain with their current employer. That’s likely why childcare is the most requested benefit by parents. Some ways that employers are helping in this arena include:
Dependent Care Flex Spending: A 2022 report from the Society for Human Resource Management noted that 59% of companies offer a dependent care flexible spending account, which allows employees to save funds directly for expenses related to caregiving.
Childcare Subsidy: Right now, only 7% of women work for an employer that offers on-site childcare or a childcare subsidy, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation A childcare subsidy means that your employer covers part or all your childcare costs.
On-Site Daycare: Here, a company creates a from-scratch childcare facility or hosts an accredited childcare provider, like Bright Horizons or Kindercare, on their campus for employees to use, normally, for a fee.
Back-Up Care: This is when employees can send their child to a facility for in-person care or have a childcare provider sent to their home, on an as-needed basis.
A 2021 study in the International Journal of Human Resources Studies notes that exhaustion is one of the top concerns for working parents. While your employer (most likely!) will not come to your house for overnight baby-soothing duty, they can offer the next best thing: Free access to SNOO. Now, more than 70 companies, including Hulu, Snapchat, and Sonic Drive-In, provide free 6-month SNOO rentals to thousands of working parents via the SNOO Employee Benefit Program. PS: Our surveys show that 91% of parents who received the SNOO benefit felt that their company truly supported their physical and mental wellbeing!
“Lactation support services” is considered a family-friendly benefit on the rise, with 11% of companies offering related benefits in 2018. And it looks like that number is primed to rise thanks to the recently passed PUMP Act. This new law requires most workplaces to provide breaks and a designated space for nursing workers to express breastmilk, which is a big win! But some companies are taking breastfeeding support even further, with…
Decked-out pumping rooms: The law states that most workplaces must provide a space for nursing moms to express breastmilk that’s not a bathroom. While some employers provide a repurposed closet, others go the extra mile, offering inviting, comfy spaces that make it easy for pumping parents to relax (for example, Happiest Baby’s pumping room has a massage chair!) and have amenities like a sink and fridge.
Breastmilk shipping: Research shows that 28% of employers offer breastmilk shipping for parents during business travel, but that number bumps to 52% when looking at the best workplaces for parents, according to a large-scale 2020 report.
Access to lactation support: Still other companies offer their breastfeeding employees access to breastfeeding support, lactation consultants, and pumping classes.
A 2021 survey found that 82% of working parents look at work-life balance as the most important factor when considering a new job. That means a flexible schedule is pretty close to a must-have these days. In fact, a pre-pandemic survey found that when parents searched for a new job, flexibility was one of the highest priorities. And 94% noted that this specific “work perk” allowed them to be better parents. After all, flexibility allows parents to get their work done and attend to family needs as they arise, which is likely why folks who work remotely are less likely to experience burnout and they’re 32% less likely to leave their jobs in the next year than those who don’t have that kind of flexibility. Right now, about 47% of U.S. workers have access to flexibility, but if you don’t, learn how to help get you there.
It’s jarring to go from being on parental leave with your new baby to being a fulltime employee in an instant. That’s why some companies are allowing employees to phase back into work more gradually. This is called on-ramping or a phased return. In 2014, only 1% of companies offered on-ramping programs for parents to reenter the workforce, but in 2018 that number jumped to 11%. With this type of gradual return to work, employers can offer “check in days” during parental leave and a gradual part-time return that slowly ramps to full-time over the course of a specified timeframe.
You May Also Be Interested In…
- How to Get a Free Breast Pump with Insurance
- SNOO in the Workplace: Everyone Wins When New Parents Get More Sleep
- What to Write in Your Maternity Leave Out-of-Office Email
- Returning to Work After Parental Leave? Here’s Your Game Plan
- Cleo: Seven insights on investing in working families now and moving forward
- The Center For American Progress: The State of Paid Family and Medical Leave in the U.S. in 2023
- McKinsey & Company: The childcare conundrum: How can companies ease working parents’ return to the office?
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): SHRM Releases 2022 Employee Benefits Survey
- Kaiser Family Foundation: Workplace Benefits and Family Health Care Responsibilities: Key Findings from the 2022 KFF Women’s Health Survey
- Exploring the Challenges Faced by Working Mothers and the Perceived Factors to Retain them in the Private Education Sector. International Journal of Human Resources Studies. March 2021
- SHRM: 5 Family-Friendly Benefits on the Rise
- S. Department of Labor: Frequently Asked Questions – Pumping Breastmilk at Work
- Maven: Parents at the Best Workplaces
- FlexJobs: FlexJobs Survey: Working Parents Want Remote Work
- FlexJobs: Survey Finds Job Flexibility Significantly Improves Health, Personal Relationships
- Catalyst: Remote-Work Options Can Boost Productivity and Curb Burnout (Report)
- Gitnux: Flexible Work Statistics And Trends in 2023
- Center for Equity, Gender & Leadership: Equity Fluent Leadership Play #2
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.