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

The latest from Word on Benefits:


Communications Manager at the International Foundation

Favorite Foundation service/product: The Word on Benefits Blog

Benefits-related topics that grab her attention: Wellness, work/life balance, retirement security, parental leave policies and unique and trending perks.​

Favorite Foundation event: The day we wait all year for–National Employee Benefits Day!

Personal Insight: Brenda goes with the flow and this approach to life puts everyone around her at ease. Brenda enjoys the mix of roles she plays from public relations pro to mom and wife.

Recommended Posts

Legal & Legislative Reporter: Third Party Administrator Liable for Violation of ACA Antidiscrimination Provision

Guest Contributor

Every month, the International Foundation releases the Legal and Legislative Reporter, a compilation of new employee benefits–related case summaries. Below is a summary we thought you’d be interested in. Content provided by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. The U.S. District Court for the […]

Rethinking Gender: How Benefit Plans, Sponsors and Trustees Can—And Must—Adapt

Alyssa Hodder

How does the move toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) impact benefits plans? It’s a game changer, but there are still hurdles that the group insurance industry needs to overcome. A panel at the International Foundation’s Canadian Health and Wellness Innovations […]

Proposed Interest Rate Assumptions for Determining Employer Withdrawal Liability (Part Two)

Jenny Gartman, CEBS

A new rule proposed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) would increase the certainty of withdrawal liability determinations for multiemployer benefit plans and likely help prevent withdrawal liability disputes from going to arbitration and litigation, PBGC officials say. The proposed permissible […]