5 companies that boosted their employee benefits for working parents

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Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, employers have been boosting their benefits in an effort to provide employees with greater support for their physical and mental well-being. One group that has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic is working parents.

As classrooms, daycares and offices all moved to the living room and dining room table, employees have struggled to balance their home and work responsibilities. Employers recognized the specific challenges facing working parents and began providing greater support.

Employers also recognized that parents need support beyond traditional family planning and maternity benefits. It’s critical they provide holistic support for parents at every stage of life, says Kate Ryder, founder and CEO of Maven Clinic, a fertility benefits provider.

“The best companies really look at parenthood as a journey. It’s not just about the nine months of pregnancy,” she says. “It’s not just maternity, but it’s fertility, return to work coaching [and] finding backup child care.”

This year, Employee Benefit News covered the many ways employers can best support working parents.

PwC ramps up child care benefits for virtual back-to-school

To help employees juggle their work and parenting responsibilities in the age of COVID-19, Big Four firm PwC revamped their child care benefits with new and upgraded offerings.

“As schools start to announce their plans for the pandemic, we wanted to help make things easier for our working parents,” says Kim Jones, people experience leader at PwC. “It’s a challenging time; many of our employees are overseeing their children’s education while working from home.”

Jones says she and her team spent months reevaluating their benefits package to prepare for the potentially unusual school year. She says the company recognized the challenges posed by quarantine would be a greater burden to some employees more than others.

Read More: PwC ramps up child care benefits for virtual back-to-school

The top tool for retaining your working parent population

While the pandemic has been a huge challenge for working parents, more flexible work arrangements have actually been beneficial to their overall productivity. Thirty percent of the working parents reported an increase in productivity during the pandemic, according to research from Rutgers University. Overall, 94% of employers say that even with employees working remotely, productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, according to Mercer, an HR and workplace benefits consulting firm.

But flexible scheduling is just one part of the puzzle for employers wanting to support working parents. Companies that invest in employees and their families with benefits prioritizing their unique challenges see 5.5 times more revenue growth thanks to greater innovation, higher talent retention and increased productivity, according to research by Great Places to Work.

Read More: The top tool for retaining your working parent population

Promoted on maternity leave: How Salesforce supports working mothers

COVID-19 hasn’t made it any easier for working mothers. TheNew York Timeshas gone so far as to label the economic recession caused by the pandemic a “she-cession” because more women are losing their jobs than men.

But even without the added stressors of the pandemic, women are often faced with the dilemma of how maternity leave may jeopardize their chances of career advancement. Research by Harvard Business Review found that many people judge a woman’s commitment to her job by the amount of time she takes off for maternity leave.

Salesforce leaders say they developed many of their benefit programs to promote gender equality in the workplace. Both women and men, for example, can take six months of parental leave after the birth of a child.

“As a manager, I've had a number of my team members take advantage of Salesforce's great parental leave benefits,” says Chris Jacob, senior director of product marketing at Salesforce. “It's our responsibility to reward excellence, even when someone is not working — and in Emily's case attending to something much more important like a newborn.”

Read More: Promoted on maternity leave: How Salesforce supports working mothers

Why working parents need extra support during coronavirus

While all employees have had to adjust to the transitions and challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, working parents are dealing with disruptions that add extra strain to their work and home lives. Now, more than ever, employers need to be communicating and offering support to this workplace population, says Cara McNulty, president of behavioral health and EAP at Aetna, a health insurance provider.

“We see parents struggling with their own anxiety in this time of transition, and we’re losing the boundaries of what’s my home life and what’s my work life,” she says. “Employers need to utilize their resources to help get the word out on the benefits that are offered and make people feel connected, even though you’re not face to face.”

Read More: Why working parents need extra support during coronavirus

Stork Club creates maternity care for modern families

Stork Club acts as supplemental insurance to cover medical and legal processes associated with family planning, that aren’t typically covered by traditional insurance. Coverage includes diagnostics, egg and sperm freezing, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, childbirth with doulas and breastfeeding support. CEO Jeni Mayorskaya says this coverage is specifically designed to help career women and the LGBTQ+ community.

“Maternity care was designed 50 years ago for a young heterosexual family where the mother stayed home. That’s not today’s family,” Mayorskaya says. “By partnering with top providers directly and providing a continuity of care, we give people the freedom to have a family on their terms, guide them to better outcomes and help businesses save millions of dollars per year.”

Read More: Stork Club creates maternity care for modern families