What employee benefits people actually want

Employee benefits are a vital aspect of attracting and retaining staff, so it is not surprising that companies will want to focus on the benefits they can offer to employees. Employees come in all shapes and sizes, including single professionals, one-half of couples, or those who have or intend to have a family. This workforce makeup allows organisations to target the employer benefits that people actually want, without excluding or being prejudice towards one group.

For singletons and couples without children, the highest-ranking benefits tend to be those that are social in nature. The most popular perks include access to extra-curricular activities such as crafts, arts, and book clubs, free tea and coffee, and participation in an office sports team or access to office table tennis or pool.

Furthermore, perks such as free private healthcare, vision and dental plans, and financial planning assistance are also popular with career professionals. However, a large percentage of the talent in the job place has families, and the majority of singletons and couples will be planning for a family. So, employers must consider the benefits they can offer surrounding parenthood, to ensure they attract and retain that top talent.

Working parenthood

The number of working mothers has increased substantially over the past twenty years, partially facilitated through statutory maternity leave and the introduction of shared parental leave in 2015.

In 2019, the Office for National Statistics’ Families and the labour market, UK:2019 report, identified that three out of every four (75.1%) UK women with dependent children were at work. The statistic is higher for men, with 92.6% of fathers with dependent children at work. Furthermore, in the UK, two-thirds of families with dependent children have both parents working, highlighting once again the importance of tailoring benefits for working parents.

Of course, there are still inequalities in workplace attitudes, such as when a parent needs to leave work for family reasons; employers still expect the mother to oblige. Even so, both mothers and fathers wish to see the attitude of work over the family to move towards work and family, creating a work-life balance that is beneficial for all.

If an organisation does not support working parents, some consequences can negatively affect the employee, the employer, and the child. A lack of support leads to higher maternal depression rates, marital difficulties, childhood obesity, and behavioural achievement difficulties. It is no longer viable for one parent to stay at home, and the evidence shows that two incomes remain highly beneficial, contributing to better healthcare and food.

Supporting parented workers brings as many benefits to the employer as the employee/parent. Businesses with benefits for parents attract the top talent, increase that talents productivity, encounter less workplace stress, and have a happier workforce, all of which create higher retention rates of quality employees.

Flexible working and scheduling, free childcare, on-site daycare, and prenatal classes and continued training options for workers on parental leave are just a few of the employer benefits people actually want, so it is worth considering these perks along with others.

What employer benefits parents want

Help finding childcare should be top of the list for all


businesses looking to offer employer benefits. Parental Choice can help businesses to support their employees by assisting them in securing dependable long-term childcare.

Some companies will have the resources to offer on-site daycare and crèches. Working mothers greatly appreciate on-site daycare, allowing them to breastfeed their baby during the day, in a private room.

Subsidised childcare is another option that organisations can consider, where on-site childcare is not feasible. Excellent choices include daycare partnerships that offer discounts and priority slots or childcare vouchers, which are now exempt from tax and national insurance contributions for employees. Employers benefit too because childcare vouchers are exempt from national insurance contributions.

These childcare benefits are an effective way to help working parents with the financial burden of childcare. At the same time, your company will drive employee loyalty. According to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2019, the United Kingdom had the second most expensive childcare, based on a percentage of a couple’s average earnings (35.7%). It is no wonder that helps finding childcare is high on the list of perks working parents are looking for.

Paid parental leave for fathers and mothers is a benefit that gives both parents the freedom to bond with their newborn, without suffering financial consequences. Employers can drive employee loyalty by being innovative, such as offering parental leave that can be taken successively or flexibly throughout the first year. Flexible parental leave also reduces physical health problems and reduces depression rates. Businesses can consider additional leave for parents to support them with extra paid days off.

12-month travel relief is a perk that new parents will appreciate as they are already managing and becoming familiar with a wide variety of new tasks and responsibilities. When travel relief is not possible, companies can allow nursing mothers to take their baby on business trips. Companies that want to look after their top talent can reimburse travel-related childcare costs. Parental Choice can help businesses by helping their staff find childcare in new cities.

Backup childcare can give parents peace of mind when they return to work. Backup childcare will reduce the stress of the employee and thus boost productivity. Parental Choice can help businesses find backup childcare possibilities, all of which will help employers attract a diverse range of employees. Organisations might also like to explore further options such as summer care programmes and summer camps; after all, childcare needs rarely line up with company work hours.

Help easing back into work is a perk any business can offer its employees. You can ease the transition of returning to work by providing a three or four-days work a week schedule for the first month or by providing a range of part-time options. Many working parents need the flexibility to move away from the 9-to-5 workday, and evidence suggests that flexible working can lower staff turnover by more than half.

Remote working and work from home are further options that will give parents time to bond with their child or tend to a sick child. During BT’s Workstyle Project, BT found flexible working made employees 20% more productive while taking fewer sick days, usually three, which is significantly less than the average worker’s ten sick days per year.

Support groups for parents can also be valuable and allow new parents to connect with other parents and experienced mothers. Your business does not need to run the support group, but information on support groups in the local area will be appreciated.

If you are business looking to help employees find childcare as an employer benefit, don’t hesitate to contact Parental Choice for help.

Parental Choice works with businesses to support their employees who have childcare or eldercare responsibilities.  We do this through helping them secure long-term dependable childcare or finding care homes for the elderly, all supported with a programme of wellbeing talks and presentations to provide emotional strategies designed to help with the challenges of juggling a family and a career.


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