Having a baby is one of the biggest life decisions your employee can make. It’s also one of the most expensive decisions your employee can make. Not only will your employee’s life change forever, but their finances will also never be the same. According to the USDA, it costs a family over $245,000 to raise a child born in 2013 in the U.S. Supporting your employees in this expensive, wonderful life stage is incredibly important. However, family leave is not enough — there are still policies to improve and additional benefits to provide.
Paid family leave
Taking 12 weeks off without pay is devastating to many families. In fact, many women scrap together sick days, vacation days, and short term disability to fund their time away from work while recovering from birth. The U.S. is only one of five countries in the world to not have required paid maternity leave. By providing your employees with some level of compensation during this time, you’re making it easier for them to spend time recovering and bonding with their new family, not stressing.
Once your employees return from maternity or paternity leave, they will need to find reliable, safe childcare. By offering on-site child care, subsidized child care, or emergency child care, your employees are able to focus on their careers while their families are taken care of. Employees are also more loyal and productive when offered robust childcare benefits.
In addition to recruiting and retaining top talent and generating a positive organizational image by supporting your working parents, you’ll benefit financially. Adjusted for inflation, U.S. businesses lose approximately $4.4 billion annually due to employee absenteeism as the result of lack of childcare.
Flexible work schedule
If possible for your organization, offer your new parents (and veteran parents!) flexible work hours. Allow employees to work from home one day a week or structure their work day to hours that allow them the most productivity. It’s no longer about how many hours your employees are at their desks in the office — it’s the quality and efficiency of the work done. By allowing flexible hours, your employees will feel supported by you and produce their best work in an environment that works for them and their families.
“Baby Bonus” pay bump
At Ovia Health, we instituted a “Baby Bonus” policy to let mothers and fathers know that we value and support families. In addition to 12 weeks of paid paternal leave, all parents receive an additional 10% of their salary while they are out. This pay bump doesn’t just serve to congratulate the new parents; it also helps families adjust to new financial burden of caring for a baby.
Providing parental benefits like this not only benefits your employees, but they also benefit you as an employer. You’ll have higher levels of productivity and loyalty from your employees, in addition to cost savings related to absenteeism and replacement.
To learn more about how to support your employees during this pivotal time in their lives, subscribe to our newsletter, Maternity Matters.