Parenting and Caregiving: Key Insights from September 2021 Industry Benchmarking Calls

For the month of September, the topic of “Supporting the Well-being of Parents and Caregivers Through Benefits, Flexibility and Leave” was explored on 11 industry benchmarking calls. These key insights recap some of the benefits and programs offered to working caregivers and the successes and challenges employers face in supporting their employees.

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November 04, 2021

For the month of September, the topic of “Supporting the Well-being of Parents and Caregivers Through Benefits, Flexibility and Leave” was explored on 11 industry benchmarking calls. These calls focused on the ways companies are supporting employees in various caregiver roles – from parenting to caring for adult children, parents and other loved ones.

These key insights recap some of the benefits and programs offered to working caregivers and the successes and challenges employers face in supporting their employees.

Top Caregiving and Parenting Strategies, Programs and Benefits

Employers shared strategies for implementing caregiver and parental benefits for their employees. Strategies included offering flexible work schedules, providing leave benefits, evaluating the employee experience for caregivers and parents and more. Below are the variety of strategies and specific programs employers have in place to support the needs of their employees with caregiving responsibilities.

#1 Flexible Work Arrangements

Flexible work arrangements include flexible hours, such as varying the start and end to the workday, remote work and hybrid work schedules, or working some days at the worksite and some at home. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of flexibilities, including remote work. More remote work has been implemented temporarily for employees.

consumer products

One consumer product company is still exploring guidelines on what work from home will look like in the future and redefining work hours. For example, this company is considering if an employee who needs to pick up their child from the bus early one day can adjust their schedule to make up this missed work time without having to take leave.

manufacturing

A manufacturing company found flexibility policies to be effective during the pandemic and will continue these policies once the pandemic is over. To ensure the success and sustainability of these policies, leaders are participating in trainings.

Insurance Company

An insurance company had flexible work schedules in place this past year and has now implemented a combination of in-office and remote work.

#2 Leave Benefits

Most large employers offer paid parental leave to both mothers and fathers (birth or adoptive), and other companies are even expanding leave benefits to include foster parents.

pharmacy

A health care company offers 10 weeks of unpaid family leave, and last year implemented paid parental leave. Their maternity leave benefits are a 100% pay for 8 weeks, and their parental leave is 100% pay for 4 weeks.

Health Care Services

Another health care company currently offers 2 weeks of parental leave and is considering increasing that time to 8 weeks of paid parental leave in 2022.

Financial Services

One financial services company is now exploring parental leave and how it’s structured. The company is considering an expansion to 16 weeks of leave for birth moms and 6 weeks of leave for all parents.

Insurance Company

An insurance company gives 8 weeks of paid time for bonding for birth and non-birth parents. Those who give birth also have 8 weeks of short-term disability STD (first week is an elimination period), and weeks 2-8 is 100% pay. Any time after that point must be taken through PTO benefits.

Insurance Company

Another insurance company has leave benefits for all parents, including foster parents. The company is also collaborating with employee resource groups for National Adoption Month.

Aerospace and Defense

An aerospace company provides 2 weeks paid parental leave that can be taken any time up to a year from childbirth or adoption in any increments. This benefit is in addition to paid leave required by law. The benefit does not cover foster parents.

#3Childcare/Eldercare Benefits

Many companies are offering childcare services in partnership with organizations such as Bright Horizons, while other companies have their own childcare services in place on-site.

manufacturing

One manufacturing company uses Bright Horizons and has an on-site childcare service that is not opened at full capacity at the moment.

consumer products

A consumer product company uses both Bright Horizons and Sittercity for employee childcare services. The company offers discounts on full-time care with Bright Horizon partners and provide 5 days of backup care. This company has also partnered with Thrive to provide resources to families with children with disabilities.

consumer products

Another consumer product company has partnered with Care.com for a full suite of care services for employees. This company also offers 10 subsidized days of backup care.

Financial Services

A financial services company offers $300 per month to employees in effort to achieve health equity. The benefits are dependent on how many children an employee has.

Health Care Services

A health care company offers a discount for childcare and is launching a discount platform in December with an on-site childcare center.

Technology

One tech company has added behavioral analyst coverage for child ADHD and autism.

Insurance Company

An insurance company reimburses parents for childcare costs paid to a trusted babysitter or grandparent. This has helped with the provider shortages in daycare centers.

Government

One educational institution is struggling with providing employees with more flexibility for caregiving because there is a shortage of caregivers. This institution mentioned that managers are not universally flexible with their employees. They have a future of work toolkit for managers and employees to educate everyone about what leave and flexibility look like and how to talk about these topics.

#4Family-Forming Services

Health Care Services

One health care company offers a stipend for adoption that is not highly used at the moment. For fertility services, the company has standard benefits within its group health plan, with a dollar limit attached.

Financial Services

A financial institution describes its fertility plan as rich, with a lifetime benefit of $50,000. The institution also created a separate (not through a medical plan) child planning benefit that reimburses for the costs of surrogacy and buying/storing/freezing eggs or embryos. There is no double-dipping on benefits. Employees’ get a percentage of their salary reimbursed for the child planning benefit (~$5,100 per event, limit of two events per lifetime).

Government

An educational institution is shifting benefits from an infertility to fertility focus, especially with regard to improving diversity and equity efforts. The institution does not offer adoption or surrogacy benefits at this time, but these benefits are planned for the long term.

manufacturing

A manufacturing company has an adoption benefit that allows for a lifetime benefit of $35,000, and another manufacturing company has a $10,000 benefit per adoption for up to two adoptions per lifetime. A third manufacturing company shared its approach of giving up to $40,000 in benefits to cover a combination of adoption, surrogacy and infertility services.

Insurance Company

One insurance company offers Maven for a variety of parenthood benefits, such as child support through the first year of life, a free breastmilk shipping service, grief support, discount fertility medications and maternity leave. Employees work with a care advocate who has access to 26 types of specialists (e.g., lactation support).

#5Evaluation of Employee Experiences

To gauge employees’ experience, some employers survey employees and solicit feedback directly from employee resource groups (ERGs).

Insurance Company

One insurance company surveys its employees frequently and has an internal group to understand their needs and reflect on issues related to adult and childcare. The company has ERGs, such as “Women’s ERG and Allies” and “ABLE” (for parents of children with disabilities).

Health Care Services

A health care company has surveyed caregivers and parents to learn more about their needs. This company also received a lot of information from business leaders through town hall meetings. It found that employees struggle with reliable transportation, difficulty caring for children with disabilities (especially when school was virtual due to the pandemic) and accessible childcare.

pharmacy

Another health care company does surveys and “rounding,” where senior management goes around and listens to employee needs.

Aerospace and Defense

One aerospace company polls all their ERGs and holds ERG-specific benefit meetings to hear from them about their needs. The company notes that it needs more information about employee’ views about time off (e.g., parental leave, caregiver leave).

manufacturing

Some manufacturing employers said that they do not use surveys to gauge employee satisfaction with services, but rather focus on getting feedback from their local HR teams.

#6Top Benefit According to Employees

A variety of companies from different industries shared what benefits receive positive feedback and the highest engagement from their employees.

Insurance Company

A couple insurance companies highlighted that caregiver leave benefits have received their most favorable employee feedback. One insurance company noted success with its new parent leave perk, which provides a new parent with a gift through its wellness program (e.g., if adopting a 5-year old, a bike could be offered).

Health Care Services

A health care company commented about success with its maternity management program; the company partnered with a well-being vendor and maternity care provider to create the program, which consists of a 6-week webinar series to provide prenatal care and breast pumps. Those who completed the program are rewarded with a reduced copay ($500) for their entire pregnancy. The company also partnered with an associate care management team to identify employees who could provide support and guidance to women with high-risk pregnancies.

manufacturing

Two manufacturing companies noted the cultural switch of allowing work- hour flexibility as the most helpful support for employees.

consumer products

Many consumer product companies noted that parental leave and caregiver services received positive feedback from their employees.

Financial Services

One financial services firm has received positive feedback about a tutoring service for the children of employees, as well as increased utilization.

manufacturing

In addition, a manufacturing company utilizes a family benefits platform designed to address the mental health and emotional well-being side of caregiving (e.g., postpartum depression).

Vision Moving Forward

Overall, many employers have well-designed caregiving and parenting strategies in place. They include strategies for flexible work schedules, family-forming services, caregiving benefits and leaves. Employers have experienced a mix of successes and challenges with the strategies they have implemented and are considering how these benefits will need to change in the future. Future benefits under consideration include expanding parental leave to all types of parents (surrogacy, adoption) and enabling employees to plan for future conception through egg freezing.

More Topics

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Top Caregiving and Parenting Strategies, Programs and Benefits
  2. Vision Moving Forward