Working Parents Support

Goals

To determine how employers are supporting working parents during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be used to evaluate current support packages and whether further support for working parents is needed.

Early Findings

  • COVID-19 has brought with it a degree of fear among working parents, with 42% saying they are too scared to take advantage of the benefits offered them at the current time. In fact, 39% of those entitled to childcare benefits are worried they may be made redundant if they use the benefits, including paid time off or flexible work hours. This is based on a survey completed in August 2020.
  • 63% of American families with children have both parents working. Only 13% of women and 10% of men are satisfied with thr current benefits package their employer offers working parents. 70% of US families spend more than 10% of their income on childcare.
  • One survey found that most of companies offer working parents the chance to work flexible hours. 76% of companies surveyed gave parents the opportunity to less hour; around 10% have down this while maintianing the employees pay and benefits. 30% of companies offer backup childcare services, while a further 30% are looking to include this in their benefits packages in the near future. Around 25% of companies are offering subsidized care at centers, tutoring, or other educational resources.
  • Flexibility has consistently been the message to employers regarding how to best support working parents throughout the pandemic, especially given the number of companies working remotely and the school closures.
  • There is an increasing preference being shown by working parents towards childcare subsidies, particularly if there is educational support or tutoring available.
  • Research suggests when employers provide basic benefits like paid parental leave and back-up care, the level of engagement from the employee, increases markedly.
  • Of the companies where employees have returned to the office, 42% do not have a dedicated plan to help parents balance the responsibility of childcare. Of the companies planning a return to the office, only 32% have outlined childcare plans.
  • COVID-19 has had an interesting impact on the workplace benefits market. Many employers have realized that previous benefits, such as onsite meals and dry cleaning, are of little use when the employee is working in a remote environment. Some companies have looked to innovative new benefits to replace those that have lost value due to the pandemic. One of the areas employers are exploring is educational opportunities for children.
  • Bank of America ended its backup childcare benefit in August 2020, opting to provide a childcare reimbursement of $75 or $100 per day (depending on salary). Bank of America has also entered into a partnership with Bright Horizons to provide workers children with access to learning hubs, childcare, and educational resources.
  • Shipstation is providing a virtual wellness back to school program whereby nutritionists have been provided to advise on lunches and healthy snacks. There are also stress management webinars available for parents.

Summary

  • In our initial hour of research, we have spent time scoping the availability of information to meet the research goals. Happily, there is a considerable amount of information of this nature readily available. Within the last two years, there has been a noticeable upsurge in articles and information relating to benefits and working parents. There have been a number of studies and surveys that provide insight into the market.
  • Based on the information available, we suggest the following research path.

Proposed next steps:

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