Your organization might be expanding to different regions, or you may have an influx of remote employees working around the world. Regardless of your company’s situation, one pain point for many multinational companies is finding a way to equitably execute benefits while complying with local regulations, laws, and cultures. After establishing a global compensation policy, the next thing any growing organization should do is lay the foundations for an extensive international employee benefits program that meets the needs of both employees and the organization. 

One growing trend that crosses physical and cultural lines is the need for comprehensive family planning and health benefits. In a recent report, 91% of global employers said that family benefits—including fertility, maternity, and parenting support—are important for both prospective and current employees. A robust and thoughtful international employee benefits package is essential for your organization to attract and retain top talent worldwide.

What are global employee benefits?

Like a domestic employee benefits package, global employee benefits are ​​any combination of non-wage payments provided to employees. These are usually part of an overall compensation package and can include healthcare, dental, remote work, stipends, bonuses, fertility reimbursements, and more. For companies establishing or expanding global operations, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work since each country has different cultural values.

For example, many Eastern European countries require employers to pay into a pension fund. China limits the amount of overtime employees are legally allowed to work—less than five hours per week. These differences between the U.S. and international employee regulations mean your organization must broaden its perspective on what constitutes a “good” employee benefits package. 

At a macro level, global employee benefits may include some of the following:

  • Supplemental health insurance: 72 countries provide national health insurance, so employers may opt for supplemental private insurance as a benefit
  • Paid time off: US workers do not have federally mandated leave, but other countries like the UK, France, and Canada have both sick and vacation leave; additional paid time off may be an added benefit. 
  • Parental and maternity leave: Government-mandated maternity leave ranges from 28 weeks in the Czech Republic to Chile, where leave begins several weeks before the due date. Some companies offer additional parental or extended leave beyond what is federally mandated.
  • Health and wellness benefits: From a wellness stipend to office yoga and access to mental health professionals, a holistic wellness program can alleviate employee stress and bolster productivity.
  • Family & reproductive health support: Family planning support may include a stipend or reimbursement for IVF or egg-freezing, access to fertility counseling, or help with adoption.

Remote work and global employees: The need for global employee benefits

There has been an exponential increase in remote employees. According to recent research, over 55% of U.S. employers offer 100% remote work arrangements. When you have employees who work outside of the country, it automatically broadens the scope of your workforce.  Depending on the number of employees or how long they plan to work in a specific county, you may have to comply with local laws and regulations in those countries. As your organization’s international footprint expands, there are unique challenges to consider:

  • Ensuring that your benefits package complies with local laws and regulations for employees
  • Creating a seamless experience across regions
  • Streamlining administrative processes and keeping costs at a sustainable level

These are not only challenges for multinational companies; any organization might face these issues, regardless of size. The difficulty stems from maintaining corporate culture and employee satisfaction across different countries and cultures. 

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Current trends in global employee benefits your company needs to succeed

Flexibility in benefits

Flexibility is the name of the game, especially in high-demand fields where you will compete with other companies for top talent. One way several multinational companies embed flexibility into their benefits strategy is by offering personalized benefits. In fact, a recent study found that 69% of respondents were exploring or implementing more flexible employee benefits. Unlike traditional employee benefits, personalized benefits provide care for employees based on their individual needs—taking a “one-size-fits-one” approach to care.

An emphasis on health and wellness

Employers want to provide a customized experience in health and wellness. A Willis Towers Watson survey found that 86% of companies prioritized health and wellness for their current and future employee benefits strategy. 

Technology bridging the gap in benefits

Advancements in health tech opened the door for employers to facilitate a number of exciting benefits, such as telehealth. Virtual benefits such as on-demand primary care, virtual mental health support, and at-home testing are convenient and widen the access to healthcare services for employees, regardless of location.

Emphasis on DEI in employee benefits

A diverse workforce requires diverse and inclusive benefits. One great example is the rise in family planning benefits such as IVF and adoption support. More than 77% of large U.S. employers provide some type of coverage for family planning coverage, and smaller companies are catching up. These enhanced benefits are essential for LGBTQIA+ employees who may rely on adoption, surrogacy, and reproductive assistive technology to grow their families. 

Why offer global employee benefits?

Aside from complying with mandates and laws around employee benefits, a comprehensive global employee benefits program can help your employees and your company.

  • Enhancing employee engagement and retention: Employee engagement is one of the leading indicators of productivity and revenue. A comprehensive global benefits program can help maintain healthy and engaged employees.
  • Employee satisfaction and loyalty: This is especially important for companies with employees based remotely or in locations away from their home base. In a Pew Research study, 49% of employees who said they were “highly satisfied” with their jobs pointed to benefits as one of the main reasons.
  • Lower turnover rates: Employee turnover can be costly and time-consuming, with some estimates as high as 1.5 times an employee's annual salary to replace them. Comprehensive benefits can be a great tool for employee retention–in one study, 75% of respondents were more likely to stay with their current employer due to their benefits package.
  • Attracting top talent: Entering an international job market poses several challenges for recruiters–you are competing with both local and other multinational organizations for the same talent pool. You may also be at a disadvantage if your organization is not a well-known brand in that region. Providing comprehensive and progressive benefits could put you above competitors.

Types of global employee benefits

The sheer number of benefits available to your employees can be daunting. Below are popular benefits that attract top talent and are consistently present in companies earmarked as great workplaces.

Fertility benefits

Maven’s recent report found that 63% of employers plan to expand their fertility benefits in the next two to three years. Companies are increasingly open to offering financial support for fertility treatments, including counseling, testing, IUI/IVF, and egg retrieval. 

Maternity & parenting benefits

If you have employees who are working parents or are looking to expand their families, maternity and parenting benefits are essential. These benefits can include on-demand access to virtual specialists and counselors for supplemental support between in-person appointments, clinically-vetted content, and other educational assets for expecting parents. Career and finance coaching, virtual support groups and parenting education can help new parents as they transition back to the workforce. 

Menopause and reproductive health benefits

Some employees experiencing menopause need additional accommodations, and menopause benefits at work can help you better support for these employees during this life change. Going above and beyond for these employees could look like flexible working schedules, on-demand and clinically-vetted educational materials, and access to mental health support. 

Other relevant employee benefits

Aside from family planning benefits, you may also consider additional health and wellness benefits like access to mental health professionals, a fitness/gym stipend, access to mediation apps, gym reimbursements, and more. 

How global employee benefits differ by country

One major challenge for global companies looking to execute a global employee benefits strategy is understanding the differences between countries. If your program doesn’t comply with the country's laws, regulations, and culture, it won’t be successful.

For example, the U.K. has nationalized health insurance and statutory benefits such as employer-provided pensions, government-mandated maternity, paternity, sick leave, and holiday pay. These benefits may not be progressive for UK-based employees. Companies must look into supplemental benefits to retain and attract top talent.

One such benefit is family planning, like fertility assistance, which isn’t as prevalent in the UK. Recent news points to only a handful of U.K. employers offering any type of fertility assistance. Expanded wellness benefits are also an attractive option in regions where statutory benefits differ from the U.S. 

How can Maven support your global employee benefits?

Employee benefits are as important as salary for global employees, and your global recruitment and retention strategy should reflect that. An excellent benefits package profoundly impacts employee engagement, retention, satisfaction and loyalty–all of which affect your bottom line. Adopting a progressive and inclusive approach to employee benefits signifies investing in the people and community. 

If you are expanding to a new market or looking to create a better employee experience for all your employees, Maven Clinic, the leading women’s and family healthcare company, can be a valuable partner as you expand your family planning benefits. Our digital platform is a global solution connecting your employees to resources they need as they start and raise their families. 

To find out how Maven can help support and enhance your company’s global employee benefits, request a demo today.

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