What benefits are top-of-mind for organizations that want to attract and retain great talent in today’s challenging talent market? Many are finding it pays to step outside the standard benefits box with creative options that meet diverse employee needs. For example, caregiving benefits are gaining strong momentum.
To learn more about this, we asked business and HR leaders to describe one caregiving option they believe is essential in supporting employees as they move through various life stages — from family planning and fertility to childcare and eldercare. Their recommendations cover a spectrum of solutions:
- Childcare Benefits
- Tuition Assistance
- Sabbatical Leave
- Unlimited PTO
- Nutritional Support
- Family Medical Leave
To learn more about why these options are so helpful, read the responses below…
6 Caregiving Benefits for the Modern Workforce
1. Childcare Support
One “do-everything” benefit can’t cover all the complexities involved with each stage in life. To ensure higher utilization and satisfaction, focus on stages with the most impact on employees and find the best option for each stage.
Certainly, fertility and family planning are good benefits to consider. However, childcare has the biggest impact on employee retention and productivity.
Childcare costs are soaring. In fact, in most states, the average annual cost of childcare is more expensive than college. This expense means many working couples are considering whether they can even afford to have kids, or if one parent must resign from work to care for their children at home.
Childcare also has a direct impact on employee attendance. On average, parents who must respond to childcare needs miss 9-14 days of work each year. And more than 65% leave work early or arrive late because they lack access to care. This is nearly 3x more productivity lost than from employees who are managing healthcare issues.
2. Tuition Assistance
Higher education and vocational training open up a wide range of opportunities for employees. They equip workers with the skills and knowledge to pursue additional career options and improve job mobility.
Tuition assistance makes education more accessible, empowering workers and their families to plan for their future. Offering tuition assistance as a benefit helps attract high-quality candidates and helps them hone their skills while helping employers retain top talent. In addition, government education assistance programs in the U.S. let employers deduct sizable reimbursements for employee tuition contributions.
3. Sabbatical Leave
Although sabbatical leave was traditionally offered only in academic settings, it has started to gain strong traction over the past few years in the private sector, in response to a rise in employee burnout and the Great Resignation.
Private employers are looking for generous perks to attract new employees, keep them engaged, and help them maintain a healthy work-life balance. Sabbatical leave is the perfect benefit to check those boxes.
In short, sabbatical leave is the option to step away from work for an extended period (usually 6 to 12 months) for any purpose whatsoever. This is a perfect way to accommodate employees at every stage in the employee lifecycle, from cradle to grave.
Individuals can take a sabbatical to de-stress and get pregnant, care for a new child, fight an illness, spend time with a dying loved one, or just travel the world. It is a flexible, practical benefit that allows for a range of uses. Whether paid, partially paid, or totally unpaid, any employee will appreciate the flexibility that sabbatical leave offers.
4. Unlimited PTO
As a business, we are committed to helping our employees maintain a work-life balance. We’re also committed to creating an environment that supports our employees’ personal goals and lets them prioritize their families. One way we do this is through a generous personal time off (PTO) policy.
We offer unlimited vacation time as well as unlimited sick time. We encourage employees to take time off for both personal and family goals, as well as when they need to care for ailing family members.
In addition, we provide resources for employees so they can continue working from home and/or work on a flexible schedule while they are taking time away.
5. Nutritional Support
One aspect of healthcare that spans the entire lifecycle is nutrition. So one benefit worth considering is coverage for prescribed nutritional supplements — not just prescription drugs. Other ways to support nutritional needs during different life stages is by providing access to educational information and expert talks about nutrition.
Optimum nutrition at each phase in the lifecycle promotes more robust immune systems and higher energy levels. That means it helps keep your workforce and their families healthier. So ultimately, these benefits ensure better performance at work and fewer illness-related absences.
6. Family Medical Leave
Family medical leave is one benefit every employer should consider to help employees address the full lifecycle, from fertility to family planning to elder care.
Family medical leave helps protect an employee’s job for up to 12 weeks if they become ill or they need to care for a family member. A supervisor cannot fire an employee when they rely on this benefit for a legitimate reason, so it can provide a helpful safety net if the need arises.
EDITOR’S NOTE: These caregiving benefits ideas were submitted via Terkel. Terkel is a knowledge platform that shares community-driven content based on expert insights. To see questions and get published, sign up at terkel.io.