Family-Friendly Benefits Baby-Step Into The Office

From extended paid maternity leave to breast milk shipping on the company's tab, employers nationwide are embracing new and innovative family-friendly benefits.

To attract and retain top talent, many employers are expanding their employee benefits lineup to include a variety of family-friendly perks, according to a new report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Fertility Health Care Benefits
: Fertility services are a highly-valued benefit for employees, often with a low-cost impact for employers. In fact, employees who have access to fertility benefits can actually have overall lower health care costs because they are making decisions with their doctors based on medical best practice, not on personal financial concerns.

The International Foundation's report found a quarter of employers with 500 or more employees offer fertility services as part of their health care benefits. Nineteen percent cover in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, 12% cover fertility medications and 9% cover non-IVF fertility treatments.

In the Silicon Valley race for top talent, both Facebook and Apple have added egg freezing as a benefit for women who choose to delay having children. Just four percent of large employers nationwide offer this benefit.

Paid Leave and Flexible Work Schedules
: Employers are striving to create a workplace culture that is family-friendly; by offering paid leave and flexible schedules, they can help employees strike a better work/life balance. This balance allows employees to remain at their most focused and productive while at the office.

Among employers of all sizes--from less than 50 employees to more than 10,000--37% offer paid maternity leave and nearly one quarter offer paid paternity leave.

Tech companies have led the trend of extended maternity leave. Netflix offers new moms and dads unlimited paid parental leave for the first year following the birth or adoption of a child. Facebook gives all new parents four months paid parental leave, Twitter provides new parents with 20 weeks paid leave, and Google offers 18 weeks paid leave.

To help employees maintain a better work/life balance, 47% of employers offer flexible work hours or compressed work weeks and 9% offer job sharing (where two or more part-time workers share one full-time job).

Day Care Assistance
: Finding--and affording--quality day care plays a big part in an employee's successful return to the workplace. Employers are helping with this effort by offering benefits such as dependent care flexible spending accounts (69%), resource and referral services for child care (22%), and on-site child care (8%).

Adoption Perks: Other employers offer unique perks for families who wish to adopt. Fourteen percent offer resource and referral services for adopted children, and 16% offer financial assistance for adoption. Nineteen percent offer paid leave for adoption.

A small 1% of employers allow babies at work, and another 1% provide breast milk shipping for new mothers who travel--a benefit that has made headlines in recent years as companies such as Clif Bar, Ernst & Young, IBM and Twitter have added it to their employee benefit lineup.

And for those bleary-eyed new moms and dads running on zero sleep--62% of employers offer on-site coffee, and 5% offer nap rooms for their workforce.

Find the full report, Employee Benefits Survey 2016, at www.ifebp.org/benefitsurvey2016.