The Family Benefits Bundle: Parenting and Childcare

This section shares best practices and opportunities for childcare and school assistance, as well as social support and family-friendly benefits.

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October 29, 2021

Employers can play a key role in retaining and supporting the well-being of employees with parenting and caregiving responsibilities, and bringing those who left the workforce back, by offering needed, inclusive benefits that support the diverse experiences of employees and their families.

Employee well-being (84%) and productivity (73%) are large employers’ top priorities for supporting working parents. During the pandemic, 94% of large employers indicated they were actively working with vendors to create support programs for employees with parental and caregiving responsibilities.1 These benefits and supports have become best-in-class in creating an attractive, caring employer brand, and many will outlast the pandemic. According to Ovia Health’s recent survey, remote or hybrid work (86%) and childcare assistance (77%) were top benefits parents want. This section shares best practices and opportunities for childcare and school assistance, as well as social support and family-friendly benefits.

Childcare and School Assistance

Even before the pandemic access to high-quality childcare, affordability and schedule conflicts posed substantial barriers for many employees. A couple with two young children spends over 25% of their income on childcare in Australia, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S., making it no surprise that childcare subsidies/discounts and backup care are valued benefits for employees.2 Large employers compassionately and creatively acted to support working parents when many schools operated remotely during the pandemic and continued childcare support will be key to allowing many women to return to the workplace and the workforce. In fact, 42% of large employers addressed childcare as part their overall health and well-being strategy in 2021, another 8% plan to in 2022, and 12% are considering doing so for 2023/2024.

Table 4.1: Supportive Childcare Benefits

BENEFIT  LARGE EMPLOYER BENCHMARK
Backup childcare 46%
On-site childcare center/crèche 20%
Childcare referrals and/or free access to dataase of caregivers with background checks 67%
Priority access to and/or dedicated space at childcare centers 33%
Nanny placement services 24%
Before- and -afterschool activities for children (in-person or virtual) 10%
Dependent care flexible spending account 87%
Childcare subsidies or discounts 31%
Childcare reimbursements during business travel and/or paying for child's caregiver to travel with parents on business trips 11%
Discounts on essential school items and/or computers for family members 26%
BENEFIT  LARGE EMPLOYER BENCHMARK
Access to discounted education academics/programs (e.g., Khan Academy, Hooked on Phonics) 31%
Tiered childcare benefits based on income/salary <5%
Access to tutors and/or stipend for tutoring services 41%
College prep coaching 33%
Contribution to 529 college savings plan 17%
College scholarship program for children of employees 44%
PTO, unlimited or vacation leave 100%
Advanced or loaned leave/PTO for childcare 54%
Flexible work hours 78%
Predictable work hours for hourl employees to help them secure childcare 17%
Flexibility to reduce work hours while maintaining benefits  34%

Sources: 2021 Family Benefits Quick Survey, 12th Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-being Survey, 2021 Large Employers’ Leave Strategy and Transformation Survey, 2020 Supporting Employees with School-Aged Children During the Pandemic Quick Survey, 2018 Parental Benefits, Supports & Perks Quick Survey, 2017 Employer Efforts to Support Working Parents

The Home Depot's Family Resource Center

Benefit awareness is a challenge for large employers. The Home Depot’s Family Resource Center is a creative communications tool to help employees easily find the benefits they need when they’re needed. Employees click on different areas—Infants & Toddlers, Preschool & Elementary School, Middle School & High School, Young Adults, and Parents—to learn about available benefits.

Global Childcare Supports

The 2020 Raising a Family Index identifies the best and the worst OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries for raising a child. Below are the top- and bottom-ranked countries for cost (e.g., childcare costs, private spending on education, purchasing power), health (e.g., maternal and child mortality, life expectancy, family planning), education (e.g., reading/math performance, enrollment), and time (e.g., hours worked, paid leaves).

Table 4.2: Top- and Bottom-ranked Countries for Raising a Child

Top- and Bottom-ranked Countries for Raising a Child 

 

Social Support and Family-Friendly Perks

Today’s companies are making life for new parents better by cultivating a parent-friendly workplace culture and offering innovative perks. Fifty-nine percent of new parents indicated a Parents Employee Resource Group was a top benefit, and nearly half (47%) said opportunities to connect with others about family health would be helpful, according to Ovia Health’s The Future of Family Friendly Benefits survey. Similar benefits, some costly and others inexpensive, help employees manage their responsibilities at work and at home.

Table 4.3: Benefits Geared to Working Parents

BENEFIT  LARGE EMPLOYER BENCHMARK
Digital app/tool to support working parents 41%
Parents Employee Resource/Affinity Group 41%
New parent mentoring/career coaching 17%
Mental healths upport targeted to families 84%
Navigation support to find specialists 44%
Access too a dedicated care coordinator 11%
Financial planning tailored to new parents 22%
Family-focused financial literacy workshops 31%
Emergency relief fund 36%
Hardship loan 67%
Bring Your Child to Work Day (in-person or virtual activities)  37%
Meal assistance (e.g., prepared meals to go, grocery discounts or coupons)  22%
BENEFIT  LARGE EMPLOYER BENCHMARK
Concierge services (e.g., local errand running, travel planning, TaskRabbit gift card) 14%
Dry cleaning and laundry services 44%
Discount on merchandize, ticket purchasing or other perks 79%
Remote work (full-time telework) 26%
Hybrid work (e.g., 3 days in workplace, 2 days telework) 44%
PTO, unlimited or vacation leave 100%
Flexible work hours 78%
Predictable work schedules for hourly emplyoees (at least 2 weeks' notice) 17%
Sources: 2021 Family Benefits Quick Survey, 12th Annual Employer-Sponsored Health & Well-being Survey, 2020 Large Employers’ Leave Strategy and Transformation Survey, 2020 Supporting Employees with School-Aged Children During the Pandemic Quick Survey, 2018 Parental Benefits, Supports & Perks Quick Survey

Common (and Sometimes Required) Global Perks for Employees

Meal icon
Meal Vouchers

Companies around the world provide employees with meal vouchers, food coupons or prepaid meal cards. For example, in Brazil, employers are required to provide employees with meal vouchers (considered part of the employee’s salary for tax purposes). The program was established to promote employee nutrition.3

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Car Benefits

Access to corporate cars or car allowances are popular in EMEA for middle managers and senior professionals. Some companies allow employees to choose a car or an allowance for a car. Others are moving beyond car benefits to more holistic transportation benefits, covering options from ride sharing to e-bikes.4

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Paid Time Away

Several countries offer rich leave benefits beyond parental and family leaves. At least 25 countries require employers to provide employees paid time off. For example, employees receive 42 paid vacation days per year in Austria, 28 in Iran, 21 in Colombia, 12 in India, and 5 in China.5

 


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Childcare and School Assistance
  2. Social Support and Family-Friendly Perks