Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day, a global event celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The 2023 theme is #EmbraceEquity and one of the focus areas is Women at Work.
Employee benefits play a significant role in supporting women in the workplace—Below are several resources employers can use to inform their benefit offerings and grow women’s equality in the workplace.
Fertility and family-forming benefits are top-of-mind for many employees. The Foundation’s 2022 Employee Benefits Survey found that 40% of United States organizations currently offer fertility benefits (an increase from 30% in 2020). Employers are covering a variety of fertility benefits including medications, IVF and others. Additionally, paid leave for adoption has gone from 16% in 2014 to 34% in 2022. Get more details on common family-forming benefits in this Word on Benefits article.
Supporting Nursing Mothers
Breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for both the infant and the nursing parent, but it is also one of the challenges new nursing mothers face when returning to work. Current law does not apply to all classifications of employees, leaving an estimated nine million working nursing parents with no federal protections. Regardless of the law, employers can improve employee health, well-being and retention by offering paid breaks and a private lactation station for nursing parents. Learn more best practices in this blog article.
Family Mental Health
Mental illness and mental health issues have been on the rise—a problem that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. In addition to their own mental health issues, employees are reporting concerns about the challenges their spouses and children are dealing with. Employers can help by reducing mental health stigma through understanding and adaptability. Tips on communicating the availability of EAPs and other mental health support offerings are detailed in “Family Mental Health and the Impact on the Workplace,” published in the January/February 2023 issue of Plans & Trusts.
Women are more likely to be caregivers, and most female caregivers also work outside the home. The pandemic and its aftermath have increased and impacted those caregiving duties, whether for a child, a senior or a friend in need. To support working caregivers, employers need to have collaborative conversations to determine how it can provide support to allow an employee to stay productive at work and fulfill caregiving responsibilities. Understanding and flexibility are some of the key strategies shared in “Caring for Caregivers: Five Employer Strategies,” an article featured in both Benefits Magazine and Plans & Trusts in January 2022.
Women’s Retirement Security
In 2022, women earned an average of 82% of what men earned. Additionally, women are more likely to pause their careers for parenting and caregiving, and they are also twice as likely to work part time. All of these factors impact not only women’s earnings but also their retirement savings. Extending retirement plan eligibility to part-time staff and providing retirement planning tools are among the ten practical guidelines for improving the long-term financial security of women shared in this Word on Benefits blog.
Work-life blend plays an important role in workplace well-being for all employees. This year for National Employee Benefits Day (April 6) the Foundation is providing resources on flexibility, well-being and happiness at work to help employers and employees create the ideal blend. Visit www.ifebp.org/benefitsday to learn more.
The resources included above are just a few of the benefits practices that can make your female and female-identifying employees feel supported and valued. Take time this International Women’s Day and the entire month of March (Women’s History Month in the U.S.) to examine how your organization can continue to build a workplace where women thrive.
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