- Major League Baseball will provide access to back-up child care and elder care benefits to its more than 1,200 full-time employees, according to a Nov. 8 announcement from its vendor, Bright Horizons.
- The benefit will include access to supports such as babysitter networks, pet sitter networks, nanny-placement services and discounts on private tutoring and test prep services, the companies said in a statement.
- MLB is offering the benefits to support employees as they return to the office, Diane Cuddy, vice president, HR at MLB, said in the statement. The benefit is inclusive of those who need assistance caring for adult loved ones, a common concern the sports organization heard in employee feedback, Cuddy said.
A key driver of employee turnover during the pandemic, caregiving has been the subject of numerous employer benefits initiatives in recent months. A February survey by child care service Care.com found half of employer respondents planned to offer new or expanded child care benefits on the horizon; many respondents said workers' child care concerns contributed to high attrition rates.
Workers taking care of older individuals face their own share of struggles, according to a poll earlier this year by elder care support firm Homethrive. The company's survey of 200 workers found 79% said their employers were not offering or not communicating benefits that support caregivers. That's despite findings that more than half spent at least five hours feeling distracted, worried or focused on caregiving instead of working, Homethrive said.
MLB now joins a lineup of organizations including names such as financial services firm TIAA and Starbucks in offering backup care benefits. Investments in familial support could mean a lot to working parents and others struggling to balance work with the residual impacts of the pandemic, sources previously told HR Dive. In an interview with HR Dive, Cuddy said MLB first began to take note of the need for enhanced benefits as far back as April 2020.
"The two groups of people we really heard from loud and clear were the working families ERG and our women's ERG," she added. "We made a decision in April and we were live by Aug. 15."
MLB later rolled out the benefit in part through Zoom calls with employees, which some employee spouses and family members also joined. "I think this was a really great way to disseminate information, including to our decision makers who are not employees," Cuddy said.
For some employers, efforts to bolster caregiving offerings may partially be an attempt to course correct from pre-pandemic practices. A 2020 Willis Towers Watson survey found fewer than half of employers agreed that their programs and policies met the needs of parents effectively. In that same survey, fewer than half of respondents offered benefits such as backup child care, childcare services and discounts and similar services.
Asked how other HR executives might successfully lobby for enhanced caregiver benefits within their own organizations, Cuddy suggested leaders make the case from a business standpoint. Such benefits can help employers attract and retain talent in a competitive market, and they can also convey the organization's interest in maintaining both health and productivity, she added.
Correction: A previous version of this story included incorrect timing for MLB's benefits announcement.