3 Employee benefits that support parents in the workplace

A quick summary:

As the older half of Gen Z workers turn 25 years old in 2022, and millennials between 27 and 40 years old, there are three employee benefits businesses must adopt. That’s if they are serious about retaining their employees, as many of them become parents and start families. 

According to the Office for National Statistics, a report from 2019 found 75% of mothers with dependent children were in work. 96% of fathers with dependent children were also recorded as being in work. Evidently, a large proportion of parents are in work throughout the UK. Despite this, there’s a clear shortage of employee benefits that support parent or parent-to-be employees. 

As mentioned above, many Gen Z and millennial workers are now in their mid-twenties and (like all of us) aren’t getting any younger. Some have already entered parenthood, and many will begin considering it in the near future. 

Here, we want to explore how employers can better support these employees; how can your employee benefits create a workplace that attracts talent in this segment of workers?

Don’t forget to download our Wellness Trends report, for a deeper understanding of the family planning benefits landscape for 2022.

3 Employee Benefits for parents and those planning families

From fertility benefits, subsidised childcare expenses, and surrogacy benefits, here’s all you need to know as an employer to better support parents and families in the workplace. Remember, there are many other ways to support these employees, and this should act as a starting guide for you to build a robust employee benefits package. 

Fertility Benefits

Fertility was for a long time a very private matter, but shifting perception, culture and tech has made talking about, and accessing fertility services much easier in recent years. Many fertility services come with a hefty price too, which makes them far less accessible. With the average cost of IVF cycle treatment coming in at around £1K - £5K, it’s no surprise that the demand for employee benefits supporting fertility continue to skyrocket in 2022. 

In the workplace today, employees are making their thoughts heard on fertility benefits. There’s a growing need for employee benefits that focus on both workers and their wider families. For employers, they must explore their options when it comes to supporting and subsidising fertility treatment, testing and support. 

It’s clear the cost of fertility treatment can become a burden on employees, and this emotional stress and financial strain can spill out into their working lives. With so much going on, employees are likely to suffer from presenteeism and a lack of performance.

As forward-thinking companies like ASOS & Kellogg’s create employee benefits packages to include family planning benefits, the best of talent could be tempted to leave their current employer for a more progressive one. However, this doesn’t have to be the case, as long as employers ask themselves a key question. How will your business begin to support parents and families-to-be in the workplace?

Through our Wellbeing Trends report, we found that 2 in 3 people surveyed say fertility challenges impact their ability to carry out work duties. But in contrast, only one-fifth of companies had a dedicated fertility policy according to Fertility Network UK’s research. That’s a significant gap in support that employers need to address.

Childcare Expenses

Moving on to childcare expenses, how can employers put together an employee benefits package to support parents in this way?

Childcare in the UK is expensive. For single parents, supporting a child up to the age of 18 costs £185,000 - for couples £151K. However, both figures are a shocking realisation of the financial responsibilities involved with having children. From education, hobbies, clothes, birthdays and so much more, employees who are also parents can often feel the financial strain. 

Despite a huge 46.6% of UK employees working some part of their role from home in recent years, childcare expenses didn’t completely vanish. Many parents instead chose to juggle work and looking after their children; a clear indication that the costs involved in childcare are still too high to justify. 

As an employer, supporting workers with the costs of childcare is a great employee benefit. Whether it’s through nursery fees or childminding costs, this support enables employees to return to work and build a better future for themselves financially. It can be a daunting time for new parents and the help from employers can really make all the difference. 

As mentioned above, financial strain can cause unhappiness, and these employees are likely to leave their current employers in search of employers if other companies start to offer better employee benefits. 

According to a survey of 5,000 professionals in the UK & US, just 11% of companies offer childcare as part of an employee benefits package. In addition to this, 53% of employees from the same survey said they are considering leaving their current job in the next year. 

Surrogacy Benefits

Surrogacy has grown in popularity over the past few years and is an arrangement where a woman agrees to bear a child for another person or people.

While subsidised childcare and fertility make for great employee benefits, companies like Salesforce, Spotify, and Snapchat are going that extra mile with surrogacy programmes. Some of these companies are supporting employees through the entire process.

While IVF treatments and surrogacy programmes fall under the umbrella of fertility, the costs involved make them very different from one another. Employers who support their staff through surrogacy are showing a huge level of care and commitment to building healthier, happier teams. 

Surrogacy has also become increasingly common for same-sex couples, and other individuals of the LGBTQ+ community. This large segment of the workforce could be forced to look elsewhere in their careers if current employers do not offer surrogacy or fertility benefits. Surrogacy isn’t the only option for LGBTQ+ individuals however, the NHS does a great job of covering other routes into family planning. 

Ultimately, surrogacy isn’t at all cost-effective. With prices averaging around £50,000, it’s no surprise employees turnover remains low, job satisfaction stays high and employees are happy with their employer’s commitment to supporting them through family planning. 

Other reasons to offer these employee benefits

Evidently, there are so many reasons to include fertility and family planning benefits at your company. What often goes unnoticed is the impact childcare has on employee burnout. Raising a family is no easy feat, and trying to juggle a career alongside it, is even harder. 

Burnout in the workplace can often lead to presenteeism and absenteeism, so supporting workers through childcare employee benefits is a great initiative - thus keeping your team at work and reducing absent days. 

In fact, parental burnout is a whole other problem in modern society. With people working longer hours, and under the stress and anxiety of the pandemic in recent years, employee benefits that support parents are crucial. According to the Guardian, a survey carried out by Savanta ComRes found 45% of respondents experienced parental burnout, and expressed increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression throughout national lockdowns.  

Other reasons to consider these types of employee benefits include talent retention, along with appealing to a younger generation of workers. Of course, employees who feel their needs are met through a robust employee benefits package, are less likely to leave. 

Additionally, the future of the workforce looks to be health and wellbeing driven. Employers who begin to tailor their employee benefits to support happier employees through family planning, female health, and fertility initiatives will see many more talented, engaged applicants. 

How Heka can help offer employee benefits for parents

It’s clear employee benefits that focus on parents and families-to-be are important to the workforce. This growing demand shows no sign of slowing down in 2022 and beyond. Has your business prepared for this direction in employee benefits? Because it’s likely your competitors have.

Through Heka, employers are able to offer their team fertility providers such as Fertifa and Hertility Health. Along with life coaching, therapy sessions and so much more to build healthier, happier teams. 

Heka is the only wellbeing benefit employees need to start improving their wellbeing in the workplace. It’s exactly why so many companies rely on our wellbeing platform each month to give their team a much-needed boost. 

Ready to find out exactly how your team can benefit from Heka and the platform’s huge range of wellbeing experiences, products, and services? 

Book a demo with our wellbeing experts today