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Employee Benefits and the Rise of Family Planning

Posted by Pat McLaughlin, VP Director of Operations – EBS on Jan 9, 2020 2:00:00 PM

Employee Benefits and the Rise of Family Planning

One clear trend in employee benefits has been a collective focus on a healthier work-life balance. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, family-friendly perks are gaining popularity among the benefits that employees are asking for.

To heed the requests of their teams, employers are recognizing that all employees have lives and commitments outside of the workplace and are expanding their benefits to be more inclusive. These types of benefits help employees address their work-life balance while keeping them productive and engaged at work.

As family-driven benefits continue to grow as part of the larger trend of expanding work-life balance policies, here are some ways employers are responding to employee demands and a look at how offering such benefits creates happier, more productive employees.

Family Planning Employee Benefits for Fertility

Family planning benefits make a huge impact on the resources and trajectory of parents both in and out of the home. Family planning is one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. The availability of such services allows individuals to achieve desired birth spacing and family size and it contributes to improved health outcomes for infants, children, women and families alike.

As an employer, family planning benefits give your employees the tools to plan for time out of the office as well as scheduling prenatal vitamin regimens, medical screenings and birth planning that all lead to healthier children and parents.

The good news is that fertility benefits aren’t just for big corporations anymore. Ten percent of employers with 50 or fewer employees offer some sort of fertility benefit and more than 30 percent of employers with 500 or more employees offer fertility benefits.

The most common benefits include:

  • In-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments
  • Fertility medications
  • Genetic testing to determine infertility issues
  • Non-IVF fertility treatments
  • Visits with fertility counselors
  • Egg harvesting or freezing services

For the time being smaller employers are less likely to provide fertility benefits, but as with large employers, the numbers are increasing.

 

Paid Leave Benefits Are Expanding

The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave. Unfortunately, this leaves it up to employers to make meaningful changes for their employees.

Without paid parental leave, employees often use unpaid time off to take care of a new child and many struggle with the decision to return to their employer.

Luckily, scores of companies have boosted or rolled out paid parental-leave programs for employees. Which, in today’s competitive job market, makes them especially attractive to jobseekers.

Despite an increase in the percentage of employers offering paid time-off policies for new parents, only 13 percent do, according to the Congressional Research Service, showing plenty of opportunity for other companies to follow suit and create in-demand parental benefits for prospective employees.

 

Flexible Scheduling Benefits for Parents

Employers tend to agree on the life-balance and family advantages of flexible work schedules for employees. The flexibility allows employees options when children are sick, for doctor appointments, teacher conferences and the plethora of life and family responsibilities with which work competes.

Flexible scheduling is a must for parents and family health. Today, more than half of employers offer flexible work hours or compressed work weeks on an as-needed basis.

As many employers remain unconvinced on the full adoption of flexible scheduling, opportunities to introduce it to your workplace include creating a set of guidelines and standards to ensure employee excellence and flexibility.

Developing these sorts of standards doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. One option for employers to enact such policies quickly and effectively would be to work with a partner to build and manage a robust employee benefits program that works for you and your team.

With the watchful eye of an employee benefits specialist, you can create a wellness program that meets the needs of your team and optimizes costs for both employees and employers.

Likewise, employers can offer childcare benefits that resolve some of the need for flexibility and help parents cover the steep cost of childcare, such as:

  • Resource and referral services for childcare
  • Emergency/sick childcare
  • On-site or near-site childcare
  • Childcare subsidies

 

Employee Benefits for Family Financial Planning

Financial planning has been a popular employee benefit for both employers and employees for some time and there’s no disputing that it’s invaluable for family planning.

Today:

  • More than 70 percent of employers offer dependent care flexible spending accounts
  • 15 percent of employers now offer 529 savings plans that help save for children’s higher education
  • Over 10 percent offer scholarships or paid tuition for employees’ children

Many employers struggle to determine the value of offering these benefits internally or outsourcing to an external company. If you’re unsure about which is the best for your team, give your employees a budget for financial planning and let them find an advisor who meets their needs.

The benefit of this approach is that employees can seek out their own advisors through organizations which include financial advisors whose expertise is in the areas that typically-younger “rank-and-file” employees actually need. Furthermore pricing is more affordable than larger independent financial planning services (and therefore more affordable to the firm offering the employee benefit).

 

Making a Difference

In the ever-competitive job market, family planning benefits are going to earn attention from prospective employees. And the more data your program has, the more effectively you can attract and retain talent.

The decision to start a family is one of the most important a person can make. It’s also a fundamental human right. The more employers can do to provide benefits for the economic and health requirements of starting a family, the more they can be better assured their employees will appreciate and thrive in their companies.

Tags: HR trends, family planning