When your employees log into work each day, they bring their responsibilities, experiences, and emotions along with them. For working parents, that means they bring their family, their struggles, and their dreams along with them. Your organization's championing a family-friendly culture shows employees that you value their lives in and beyond work—not just as workers. 

Investments in family-friendly benefits such as flexible and remote working options, care reimbursement, parental leave, and more can aid retention, recruitment, and brand culture. A survey found that half of U.S. employees indicated that they would prefer enhanced benefits or paid leave over a higher salary or bonus.

What are family-friendly benefits?

Family-friendly benefits support employees through all life stages in integrating and balancing work and family responsibilities. These benefits include tools that support the needs of parents throughout their family journeys, like planning advice, family building reimbursements, mental health support, and access to specialty care. They can also include broader caregiving leave (e.g., caring for a parent, spouse, or domestic partner), as well as parental leave, adoption, paid bereavement leave, and childcare benefits.

Family-friendly benefits are in high demand

As more companies look to foster an equitable, inclusive, and diverse workplace, family-friendly benefits are becoming an increasingly crucial element of their talent strategy. According to a Willis Towers Watson survey, almost six in ten employers (59%) say that family-friendly policies have been essential to their talent strategy over the past three years to a great or very great extent, a figure that is expected to grow to 77% in the next three years. The same report indicated that nearly two-thirds of employers (65%) offer family-friendly benefits because they align with their corporate strategy and mission. A similar percentage provides these benefits to support their company's diversity and inclusion goals and objectives. 

While employers have made significant progress on parental leave benefits, there is still work to be done. According to the Modern Family Index, 42% of women still fear starting a family will hurt their career trajectory, and 43% of highly-qualified mothers leave the workforce. On the other hand, despite progress in paternity leave policies, 70% of men take less than 10 days of parental leave.

They're valuable for everyone involved

Good for children

When parents get to spend more time with their children and give them the stimulation and nourishment they need, it leads to positive outcomes. According to a 2020 survey by UNICEF, investing in early childhood development is one of the most effective ways to give children the best start to life while improving their abilities, skills, and productivity. These outcomes are seen beyond the first 90 days of parental leave, extending well into childhood.

Good for women 

Family-friendly benefits can help organizations improve gender diversity and illustrate that they value women in the workplace. Affordable child and family care services enable women to participate in employment while caring for their dependents. Access to high-quality gender-responsive childcare and family-friendly early childhood development benefits are crucial to reducing gender imbalances and encouraging greater co-responsibility between women and men.

Good for business 

Research suggests that while family-friendly policies pay off in better-educated, healthier children, improved gender equality, and sustainable growth, they're also linked to enhanced workforce productivity. The same UNICEF survey states that companies are beginning to see the value of offering family-friendly benefits that reduce absenteeism, increase employee retention and lower recruitment costs in many countries. 

These policies enable working parents, particularly mothers, to advance in their careers, which helps bolster employee engagement and morale while making companies more competitive at attracting, motivating, and retaining employees. Gender-neutral family-friendly policies also increase the probability of women returning to work after maternity leave while encouraging the redistribution of domestic care work and parenting responsibilities. Hence, women are less likely to drop out of the workforce.

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What types of family-friendly benefits do employees want? 

Paid parental leave

Parental leave increases bonding between a parent and child and plays an essential role in closing the gender gap. According to a feature in the Atlantic, gender-inclusive parental leave policies "boost male participation in the household, enhance female participation in the labor force, and promote gender equity in both domains." Revamping your parental leave policy and establishing a culture to support it is one of the most valuable things you can do to promote a more equitable, family-friendly organization. Consider both the length of leave, who gets access to the benefit, and how leaders will support their employees entering this stage of life.

Fertility and family-building benefits

One in eight couples struggle with infertility, so it’s likely some of your employees will too. Since fertility treatments can be prohibitively expensive, employers can offer fertility benefits to assist with coverage. Providing financial assistance for different types of family-building methods (like adoption, surrogacy, IVF, and more) is paramount, too, and considerate of the needs of LBGTQIA+ employees.

Flexible working arrangements

Flexible working arrangements, such as flextime and remote policies, make it easier and less stressful for working parents to accomplish familial responsibilities, such as taking children to school or appointments. When creating your policy, draw inspiration from organizations that have successfully executed these arrangements and merge them with what works best for your company. Take the guesswork out of the process by surveying your employees to understand their needs better and present your findings to leadership.

Childcare assistance

Childcare is typically the biggest expense for families, and a survey by Care found that 69% of parents say that childcare assistance affects their career decisions. So, whether you offer on-site daycare, childcare subsidies, or flexible spending accounts, supporting childcare coverage can go a long way to help employees.

Lactation support

Empower breastfeeding parents by making your office a nursing-friendly environment. Consider designating a private lactation room with a refrigerator that is meant only for pumping and storing breastmilk. For parents who travel for work, offer a breast milking shipping service so they can easily send milk home or take it with them. Help foster a stigma-free environment by educating all employees—not just managers and new parents—about women's breastfeeding needs and the company policies in place to support them.

Start designing family-friendly benefits with Maven

Family-friendly policies are only beneficial if employees feel comfortable using the options available to them. Ensure leadership sets an example by using the benefits, having open conversations about family matters with their team members, and supporting the maintenance of family-friendly company culture. 

Are you ready to start designing family-friendly benefits that your employees can easily access and use? Maven offers benefits such as:

  • Care navigation - Care Advocates guide members through the platform and to in-person agencies, legal services, providers, and partner clinics
  • Telehealth support - Unlimited appointments with providers spanning 30+ specialties, including surrogacy coaches, egg donor consultants, reproductive endocrinologists, and more
  • Content and community - Personalized content, virtual classes, and an active forum of users is accessible for all
  • Financial support - Maven Wallet provides a seamless reimbursement experience for eligible expenses

Maven's pioneering virtual care model is built around women and families, delivering better and more equitable outcomes for everyone. Get in touch with Maven today to learn how we help you create a holistic family-friendly benefits plan tailored to your employees' needs.

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