- Companies are lukewarm about their family-friendly benefits plans and believe their offerings aren't living up to employees' expectations, according to a new Pacify survey, Making Maternity Work in 2018: Key Trends in Family-Friendly Benefits. On a scale of one to 10, companies gave maternity- and health-related plans a 7.1 rating. Respondents gave employees' satisfaction with their plans an even lower rating — 6.7.
- Survey results show that HR leaders are bolstering efforts to improve and expand benefits that support working parents. Their two-point mission is to: 1) attract and retain workers who are balancing work with family obligations; and 2) lower the costs of maternity and pediatric care and absenteeism. Maternity and pediatric care reportedly account for 25% of hospital stays, and maternity claims make up between 15% and 25% of healthcare costs. Sick children require parents to miss about nine workdays a year, according to statistics cited in the survey.
- No companies plan to cut back on maternity and paternity benefits, said Pacify. In fact, most (57%) plan to keep these benefits at 2018 levels, and 43% plan to expand them. Employers said they plan to invest in more family-friendly benefits, such as paid leave, flexible work schedules and lactation support, including onsite lactation rooms, lactation consultation and breast milk shipping.
Many people currently at work are within a sandwich generation, between both childcare and eldercare duties, pointing to the importance of benefits that support working parents and help them attain work-life balance. It's not surprising that companies in the Pacify survey are maintaining or expanding family-friendly benefits in an effort to retain workers in a strapped talent market.
The retail industry, not known for its stellar benefit offerings, has increased its benefits in direct response to retention issues. Prompted by a tight labor market with record-low unemployment, some of the biggest names in the industry — Lowes, Starbucks, and Walmart — are offering paid parental leave to their hourly workers.
Allowing breastfeeding mothers to work and also have private time to lactate in safe, secluded areas on the worksite gives another boost to work-life balance. With initiatives that support working mothers, the message to women in the workforce is that being a new parent need not be an impediment to their careers — an important aspect of any diversity and inclusion initiative.