What are family friendly employee benefits?
Family friendly employee benefits are benefits such as plans, programs, or perks that support employees through all periods of life in balancing and integrating work and family responsibilities. Commonly, the most known family friendly benefits include paid parental leave and childcare. However, in this day in age, employers are offering a wider range of solutions to take care of their employees’ growing needs. We’re starting to see modern benefits such as access to fertility benefits, adoption assistance, and mental health care gain popularity among family friendly benefit packages. We’ll talk more about these later in the blog. Now, you may be wondering “what’s in it for me?”
Why should I consider family friendly benefits?
We know family friendly benefits can be expensive and hard on your budget, which is why some employers completely forgo them in their plans. However, many don’t understand how they can benefit their companies in the long run. Employers need to realize that in addition to being valuable for women, children, and the LGBTQ+ community, they also have a very high return on investment for businesses as well. Here are some of the ways family benefits are valuable for everyone involved.
1. For Women
Organizations may improve gender diversity and show that they value women in the workplace by offering family friendly benefits. In order to reduce gender disparities and promote greater co-responsibility between women and men, access to high-quality child care is essential. With child care, women can work while having the peace of mind that their families are taken care of.
2. For LGBTQ+
According to the Family Equality Council’s LGBTQ+ Family Building Survey, 63% of LGBTQ+ millennials are considering becoming first time parents or having more children. Additionally, 63% of LGBTQ+ people expect to use assisted reproductive technology, foster care, or adoption to become parents. To emerge as a leader in diversity and inclusion, your company can support LGBTQ+ employees on the path of parenting.
3. For Children
Studies have shown that the development of children, such as their social, emotional, and cognitive levels, depends on a loving bond or attachment relationship with a primary caregiver, usually a parent. Without a good initial bond, children are less likely to grow up to become happy, independent, and resilient adults. If you support paid parental leave, you’re directly improving the wellbeing of your employees’ families.
4. For Businesses
A survey by UNICEF states that companies are starting to see the value of offering family friendly benefits that reduce absenteeism, lower recruitment costs, and increase employee retention across many countries. Policies that enable working parents to advance their careers helps increase employee engagement and morale. This makes companies more competitive at attracting, motivating, and retaining their employees. Therefore, investing in better benefits, including family friendly ones like childcare, can go a long way toward reducing turnover and building employee loyalty.
What types of family friendly benefits do employees actually want?
Depending on the stages of life your employees are at, their preferences towards specific family friendly benefits will differ. For example, consider how the needs of a newly married couple trying to grow their family through adoption contrast with the struggles of a single parent raising three children on their own. Everyone is in a different boat! Fortunately, there are many family friendly benefit solutions that can address your employees specific needs. Here are three examples of family friendly benefit options for your team.
1. Fertility Benefits
Fertility benefits grants all employees, regardless of sexual orientation, relationship status, gender, or physical health the opportunity to have children. According to the Government of Canada, 1 in 6 Canadian couples experience problems with fertility. However, that number is much higher since it doesn’t account for single parents and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Employers can play a huge role in helping their employees build families. Some common fertility benefits include:
- Fertility medications
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments
- Egg freezing
- Mental health counseling for those struggling with fertility issues
- Diagnostic testing
A recent study carried out by Carrot Fertility partner and leading fertility clinic Sims IVF found that 79% of respondents did not feel adequately supported in their workplace when undergoing fertility treatment. This goes to show that fertility benefits play an important part in creating an inclusive and equitable workplace.
2. Adoption Benefits
Many companies have offered benefits such as paid leave and medical care reimbursement for employees having a baby. However, few employers provide benefits for adoptive parents. Adoption benefits include paid or unpaid time off during the adoption process and financial reimbursement for expenses. The expenses for adopting depend on a few factors. For children adopted through the public system, there’s usually no fee. However, most private adoptions range from $15,000 – $25,000 for a child born in Canada, and about $25,000 – $50,000 for a child born in the United States or overseas. By providing adoption benefits, employers can support their employees through difficult and stressful times. It shows that you are sensitive and caring, which even the most independent employee needs.
3. Paid Parental Leave
It’s also crucial to understand that parental leave extends past maternal leave. New fathers and some members of the LGBTQ+ community are unable to take the time off they require since many businesses do not include paternity leave or adoption leave in their benefits. Parental leave is a benefit offered to employees that helps close the gender wage gap and boosts female involvement in the workforce. According to research, gender-inclusive parental leave laws can increase male home engagement, increase female labor force participation, and advance gender equality in both spheres.