Ask any executive and they’ll tell you how important family benefits are to their employees. Ask those executives’ employees if their companies are giving them the support and benefits they need as working parents, and the gap between the two answers widens considerably.
To find out why that is, Maven Clinic surveyed more than 300 HR benefit decision-makers, in addition to 1,000-plus full-time employees who are starting or raising a family using their company benefits.
According to the survey, most companies are offering:
- parental leave (64%)
- virtual care for pediatrics (44%)
- virtual care for pregnancy and postpartum (38%), and
- coaching resources to help parents transition back to work (26%).
The problem might be that what employers think their people need and what employees actually need are two different things according to the study.
Companies that are focusing their attention on creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) cultures no matter how employees are traveling the path to parenthood, will see increased retention rates. Those who don’t, won’t see them.
Of the full-time workers surveyed, more than half (57%), and two-thirds of them identifying as LBGTQIA+ (67%), are actively expanding or planning to expand their families.
However, even employers with DEI cultures may not be offering enough. Seventy percent of employers said they’ve seen high attrition rates among working parents due to COVID-19.
Why isn’t this enough?
Inclusive family benefits aren’t a new trend. They were growing in robustness before the pandemic started. But like many things, the pandemic placed a spotlight on how important it is for employers to help support their employees with inclusive family benefits. Especially during a time of stress and financial strain.
Parental leave is only part of the foundational support parents need, according to the survey. And while more parents can access virtual pediatric support, fewer can access telehealth during pregnancy and postpartum. When the U.S. currently has the highest maternal mortality and morbidity rates of any developed country due to reduced access to care and increased healthcare costs, there’s the evidence. Obviously, for this group of employees, their healthcare needs aren’t being met via traditional healthcare benefits.
Another big disconnect is while employers are putting time and effort into employee retention, few offer coaching resources to help parents transition back to work. This is an area that, when boosted, can easily increase retention rates by leaps and bounds. In the study, 43% of employees said “return-to-work coaching would have helped them feel more equipped after giving birth.” But only 26% of employers offered such resources.
Nowadays, the path to having a family looks much different than it did a few years ago. This means employers have to offer more diverse and inclusive family benefits covering a wider scope than just the “traditional” three areas: getting pregnant, having a baby, and returning to work. That puts the burden on employers to fill in the gaps.
Desired family health benefits
Specifically, employees want more coverage in five areas of family health:
- fertility benefits (31% want it, but only 29% of large employers offer it)
- adoption/surrogacy benefits (27% want it)
- preconception (only 27% of large employers offer it) and family planning care
- caregiver leave, and
- virtual family care.
Employees want to work for companies that acknowledge they have a life outside their job and respect that. Offering tangible benefits that cover the gaps and help employees lead happy, healthy lives shows them their company cares about them. And benefits are an expression of company values. If inclusion, empathy and health are in the values, benefits will reflect that.
For additional information on what employers can do to help their LGBTQ+ employees reach their goals of parenthood and quality health care, check out Parenthood and Healthcare Support for the LGBTQ+ Community, a free webinar on June 16, 2022.