Things can be pretty exciting around the workplace when employees are preparing to add a child to their lives. Coworkers may want to plan a baby shower, set up meal trains, or bring them gifts and clothing that can help make the transition easier.
All of this can be great for employee morale. But what about your employee benefits? Are they set up to help new and expectant parents transition as well?
How Benefits Support Parents
After a child arrives, is adopted, or is placed from foster care, it can be difficult for employees to get back to work. In fact, some new parents consider leaving work for a number of reasons:
- They want more time to bond with the new member of their family
- Stepping away from their salary or hourly wages might be more cost effective than paying for childcare
- The transition into parenthood causes them to reevaluate their career goals
However, for plenty of employees, the transition starts long before the child’s first day home. Their minds shift toward pregnancy care, adoption services, meeting with fostering agencies, and exploring reproductive options and support.
The way that you support new and expectant parents can make a huge difference between retaining them, and potentially losing them in the process. And this includes your benefits program.
Are your employee benefits supporting workers when they’re in the process of adding a child to their lives? Below, we’ll look at three things to consider as you review your benefits plan, with an eye toward helping would-be and new parents.
A robust employee benefits plan can help support workers, no matter how their needs change. A dedicated benefits administration software like BeneTrac can help simplify the way your entire workforce engages with the benefits you offer. Request a demo, and learn more.
Retaining New-Parent Employees
Some employees wait to add a child until they’ve established their careers, advanced their skills, and reached a certain level on their professional track. By doing so, they make themselves more valuable to their current employers, and more attractive when new opportunities arrive.
Losing talented employees is always a challenge, no matter what the reason.
When employees add a child to their lives, they want to know that their place of business will have their back and support their decision.
- For new parents, the transition from working a normal schedule, to being off for six-to-eight weeks, to coming back to their normal schedule can be difficult.
- For expectant parents, or parents exploring the option of adding a child, it’s easy for their minds to be elsewhere, even when they’re at work.
How can your benefits help ease their transition? Here are three tips as you consider ways you can support expectant and new parents:
1. Review your benefits to see how well they currently support expectant and new parents
In a strong hiring environment, plenty of employers are already looking for ways to enhance their benefits programs to support parents. As you review your current benefits program with your carrier, you might discover that you can:
- Add post-partum wellness support, lactation support, and at-home wellness visits and checkups.
- Provide services and resources for individuals who adopt or place a foster child.
- Introduce new family-focused benefits that assist the transition, especially if there’s a gap between paid parental leave, and when new parents return to work.
Some companies go so far as to allow new parents to work a flexible, reduced, or remote working option schedule for their first few weeks back, while still receiving full pay.
2. Start the transition before the new child arrives
What would it mean for expectant parents to transition slowly out of work, and know that your company has their back?
- Instead of requiring soon-to-be-parents to use their own vacation time, some benefits create leverage so employees can phase out of work gradually, such as working 80% of their schedule for a few weeks before their maternity leave starts.
- A benefit such as this extends the transition period, and demonstrates a new level of company support.
3. Find out what type of benefits new and expectant parents might want
Surveying current employees about benefits any time of year can be a great way to help them engage with the benefits you offer. The same is true when you’re considering enhancing your benefits program specifically to support new or expectant parents.
- Things like lactation support, or even breast milk delivery for nursing mothers, may not seem necessary to everyone. However, even if such benefits support a small percentage of your workforce, they can send a clear message that you’re listening to your workers, and are willing to find new ways to help them be parents and professionals.
- Offering benefits that support different reproductive options is another way that you can show that you’re listening to different needs that employees bring to the table. Certain flex spending accounts can help employees afford things like a surrogate, in vitro fertilization, or even costs associated with adoption.
Any time employees add a new member to their families, or even when they’re just in the planning stages, it can be a long and tricky transition. By supporting them with parent-friendly benefits, you’re telling them that the workplace is prepared to help them through.
When employees are getting ready to become parents, they don’t want to lose time worrying about their benefits. And when workers are job shopping, they’re also considering the benefits program that would-be employers offer. Contact a BeneTrac representative for a consultation.