Beyond Maternity Leave: 5 Overlooked Perks That Make a Big Difference for Working Parents

Working parents are often stretched unrealistically thin. Torn between their professional and personal responsibilities, today’s working parents are less likely to choose employers that expect too much. As an employer, it’s important to consider the needs of all your employees, including those with young kids at home.

The working parents have unique challenges that can make it difficult to show up for work each day. Yet, as an employer, you can make things significantly easier for them by giving them benefits that enrich their lives and incentivize them to stay with your company. It’s no longer sufficient to give the bare minimum as required by law. Here are five overlooked perks — beyond maternity leave — that make a big difference for working parents.

  1. Childcare Support

Thanks to inflation, young parents are finding it harder to buy groceries, make the monthly mortgage, and pay for childcare. Thankfully, many employers are choosing to relieve their employees’ financial burdens by offering childcare support. This could be a monthly stipend parents can use to help pay for daycare services. Or, you might offer on-site childcare at a free or reduced cost. You could even turn a portion of your building into an employer-funded daycare complete with playground equipment like swing sets or monkey bars.

In addition to benefiting staff members, offering childcare support can also benefit your company. Having on-site childcare available makes it easier for working parents to get to work on time. It also relieves their stress so they’re in a more relaxed frame of mind and have an easier time focusing on their duties at work.  

  1. Flexible Scheduling

Today’s young families look much different than they did in previous generations. It used to be common for one parent to work while the other stayed home and cared for the children. Today, it’s common for both parents to work outside the home. When both parents work a standard 9-5 job, it becomes very challenging to take care of parental responsibilities. Many parents must arrange for someone else to be there for their kids when they get home from school.

To help prevent unnecessary stress, you may wish to offer flexible scheduling to your employees. This might look like allowing employees to choose their hours (within reason). Some may decide to come in and leave a few hours earlier so they can greet their kids after school. You could also let employees adopt a hybrid work schedule so they can work remotely on certain days of the week. In a survey of nearly 4,000 people, 94% of working parents agreed work flexibility would help them be better parents.

  1. Affordable Insurance

Like the cost of nearly everything else, health insurance premiums continue to creep upward. The health insurance premium for a small family can easily range between $500 and $1,000 or more per month. Many families simply can’t afford to pay these types of premiums without some financial help. If your company isn’t currently paying a percentage of your employees’ premiums, it’s time to seriously consider making a change.

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers who have at least 50 full-time employees must provide them with health insurance options. If they refuse, they must pay a fine. However, some employers still choose to pay the fine because it’s often more affordable than offering insurance to their employees. This is not the way to boost morale or reduce your turnover rate. To keep working parents happy, and potentially reduce their sick days, it’s important to provide them with affordable insurance options.

  1. “New Parent” Gifts

If you offer paid maternity leave, you may think it’s the only gift you need to give to employees who have just become parents. You’re indeed going above and beyond by offering paid maternity leave instead of the obligatory unpaid leave. However, you can make young parents in your employ feel more appreciated and valued by offering personalized gifts, as well.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on gifts. In fact, some of the most thoughtful presents are those that are reasonably priced. Ideas include gift baskets full of diapers, formula, and other newborn necessities. You might also wish to include some self-pampering items such as spa gift certificates or scented soaps. Finally, don’t forget the value of cash. To young parents who have big labor and delivery expenses to pay, it can be the perfect gift.

  1. An At-Work Mother’s Room

Some mothers choose to breastfeed their babies for the first few months. To keep their milk supply up, they must either nurse or pump breast milk regularly. When they return to work, they may struggle to find a place where they can do this comfortably, safely, and discretely.

Some companies choose to reserve a comfortable, sterile room in their building for a mother’s room. This room should ideally include one or more comfortable seating areas that may be separated by curtains. The room should also include a sink where mothers can wash and sanitize their hands, bottles, and breast-pumping equipment.

As an employer, it’s in your best interest to keep working parents happy. By relieving their stress and meeting their needs, you can improve company-wide morale and reduce turnover. Happy employees also tend to be productive employees, which means offering perks beyond maternity leave can potentially boost your profits.  

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