Motivated by a tight labor market (until the COVID-19 pandemic) and a new emphasis on health and wellbeing (prompted by the pandemic), employers are rethinking their benefit offerings. Specifically, employers are expanding their family-friendly benefits in an attempt to cultivate a more diverse workforce. Family-friendly benefits include provisions for parental leave, fertility services, childcare, caregiving leave, flexible work schedules, etc. 59% of employers say that offering family-friendly benefits are part of their recruiting strategies, with that number expected to increase to 77% in the next three (3) years.
While some 65% of employers offer such benefits because they align with their corporate strategy or mission, a greater number of companies (72%) say the primary reason for offering these benefits is to recruit and retain talent in a competitive labor market. Attitudes toward pay and benefits are shifting; half of US workers now say they would rather have access to these types of benefits, which promote work/life balance, than receive higher bonuses. Employers are taking note. Well over half of employers offer or are planning to offer fertility and family-building services by 2022.
Paid leave benefits are expanding as well. Maternal and paternal leave is anticipated to be offered by 84% and 80% of companies, respectively, in 2022. Other sorts of leave benefits are being put on offer too. Employers allowing caregiving leave for spouses, children, and parents could double over the next two (2) years. For better or worse, American’s employers are becoming a more integral part of family life, and employees are becoming more dependent on their employers, which could change labor market dynamics.
Additionally, as employers flesh out their family benefit plans, they will have to devote more resources to the design and implementation of said plans. Benefits consultants and third-party administrators will play a major role in shaping the future of employer-employee relationships, and the relationships between employers and these benefits organizations will continue to fluidly evolve. But certainly, with greater emphasis and dedication of resources to a wider range of employee benefits, there will be greater interest in controlling the institutions which shape the growing employer-employee bond.
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