Oh, Baby! More Employers Are Offering Family-Friendly Benefits

A growing number of employers in the U.S. are offering family-friendly benefits such as fertility services, paid leave and flexible scheduling to accommodate employees in today’s competitive labor market, according to a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Employee Benefits Survey examines the family-friendly benefits employers are offering and finds that many of the perks have grown in prevalence over the last two years.

Oh, Baby! More Employers Are Offering Family-Friendly Benefits

Fertility Benefits on the Rise

Nearly one-third (31%) of employers with 500 or more employees offer some sort of fertility benefit—up from 24% in 2016. Employers most commonly cover in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments (23%), fertility medications (18%), genetic testing to determine infertility issues (15%), non-IVF fertility treatments (13%), visits with counselors (9%), and egg harvesting or freezing services (7%).

Smaller employers are less likely to provide fertility benefits but, just like large organizations, the numbers are increasing. Of employers with 50 or fewer employees, 10% offer some sort of fertility benefits—up from 4% in 2016.

Employers Offering Paid Leave and Flexible Scheduling Options

Evidence, Insight and Strategy for Optimizing Health Benefits

Among employers of all sizes—from fewer than 50 to more than 10,000 employees—41% offer paid maternity leave (up from 37% in 2016), and 32% offer paid paternity leave (up from 24% in 2016). Twenty-one percent offer paid adoption leave.

Employers are providing additional types of paid leave including paid family/caregiving leave, offered by 17% of workplaces, and paid leave to attend a child’s activities, offered by 8%. When it comes to unpaid family leave options, 34% offer unpaid family leave beyond FMLA requirements, 26% offer unpaid adoption leave and 25% offer unpaid leave to attend a child’s activities

Just over half (51%) of employers offer flexible work hours or compressed work weeks. And one in ten (9%) offers job sharing, where two or more employees share one full-time job.

Prevalence of Other Family-Friendly Benefits Continues to Grow

Employers are continuing to offer a wide range of other family-friendly benefits. Perks that have seen increases in the past two years include:

  • Dependent care flexible spending accounts – 74% (up from 69% in 2016)
  • Resource and referral services for child care – 27% (up from 22% in 2016)
  • Take Your Child to Work Day – 23% (up from 17% in 2016)
  • Financial assistance for adoption – 17% (up from 16% in 2016)
  • 529 plans – 15% (up from 10% in 2016).

Other less common family-friendly benefits include:

  • Resource and referral services for adopted children – 13%
  • Scholarships or paid tuition for employees’ children – 12%
  • Emergency/sick child care – 7%
  • On-site or near-site child care – 5%
  • Child-care subsidies – 3%
  • Parent coaching services – 1%
  • Special needs child care – 1%.

Looking for More Bench-Marking Data?

International Foundation survey reports provide helpful bench-marking data on all types of employee benefits. Learn more about the prevalence of family-friendly benefits in the report Employee Benefits Survey.


Brenda Hofmann
Communications Manager at the International Foundation

Fraud Prevention Institute for Employee Benefit Plans

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