4 life-changing benefits more businesses should offer

Health insurance, paid time off, and paid parental leave are some of the most well-known perks that companies know employees want – and that employees know how to ask for during the hiring process.

But there are also life-changing perks that can make the difference between keeping workers engaged in a job or starting to look for a better opportunity. In the middle of a wave of employees leaving this summer, there are some benefits that could help retain workers by improving their lives.

Here are some of those overlooked transformative benefits that more businesses should be offering – and employees should be asking about:

1. Expanded benefits for caregivers

Almost one in four employees have left the workforce to become full-time caregivers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and those forced exits have disproportionately affected women of color. To retain more employees and attract new ones, inclusive benefits that help employees care for children and adult family members must be a priority.

A 2021 report from Care.com that included interviews with 500 human resources managers sheds light on what those policies look like now. The report found that among companies currently providing care services, the most common type is membership in an online platform that helps find care for children, the elderly or pets. The other main options currently offered by companies are individual counseling for caregivers (53%), cash grants for care (52%), on-site childcare (50%) and tutoring (40% ).

The report shows the wide range of what employers could offer, but a great deal of care that employees really want might just be the ability to work from home. For parents with young, unvaccinated children and for people caring for families who cannot be vaccinated, returning to an office at this time is always difficult. A FlexJobs investigation found that only 2% of parents want to return to the office full time.

2. Paid Leave and Disability Benefits for People with Long-Term COVID

Although mask requirements have eased in the United States and more workplaces are recalling workers to offices, many Americans still cannot resume their way of working. One group that employers can help are employees with ‘long COVID’, those who survived the initial acute illness of COVID-19 but continue to have symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and brain fog that interfere with their ability to work.

Applying for federal disability benefits administered by the Social Security Administration is already a notoriously long bureaucratic process. But employers can at least control how they manage their private short-term and long-term disability benefits, and make it easier for people with long-term COVID to get them. There is reports insurers contracted by employers who reject long-standing COVID applicants, for example. Employers could help by making it clear that job-protected leave and other disability benefits are covered and subsidized for long-term COVID employees.

3. Family formation benefits

Benefits that help people pay for expensive treatments, such as in vitro fertilization, are in demand. There is reports people who have specifically chosen to work at Starbucks for the fertility benefits of IVF it offers to all eligible employees, including part-time baristas.

And that’s an important consideration in the minds of employees right now. In May study of 1,061 professionals who were mostly in their 30s, nearly half said the pandemic had not stopped their plans to pursue fertility treatments or become parents. Seventy-seven percent said they would consider staying in their current job longer if it offered fertility benefits, and 88% said they would consider moving to a job that provided access to fertility benefits. fertility.

4. Student loan repayment assistance

Almost 45 million Americans have student loans totaling a estimated at $ 1.7 trillion this year, and the overwhelming weight of that debt can slow borrowers’ futures and take a toll on their mental health. It is therefore not surprising that recent university graduates in 2018 investigation said they would rather receive student loan assistance as a work benefit than being able to work remotely or receive a 401 (k) employer contribution.

The pandemic has only heightened these concerns. After more than a year of COVID-19 disrupting people’s lives, employees said financial worries were the number one cause of their stress in 2021, above concerns about their work, health and relationships, according to a PWC survey of 1,600 full-time adult American workers. . The main concern of most employees regarding their long-term future was how to pay their bills without additional government assistance programs. And they have reason to worry: A pandemic-era break on federal student loans is set to expire on September 30, though Democrats in Congress are pushing President Joe Biden to extend the break until spring.

A clear way for businesses to offer relief in the meantime would be to step up their own student loan repayment assistance programs. Currently, this is an outlier. Only about 4% some companies do offer a student loan repayment assistance program.

But that doesn’t mean it’ll never be on the table. As with all perks, it helps to ask colleagues and colleagues what the industry standard is. You may find that you are not the only person on your team who wants this benefit, and you could go as a group to ask your HR department.

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