7 Employee Benefits That Working Mothers Want Most
It’s more and more common today for people who are looking for employment to actually be more interested in the benefits that employers offer than how much money they would potentially be making. The same goes for people who are already employed. There are a number of benefits that many workers desire more than simply receiving regular raises.
It should then be no surprise that mothers who want to get back into the workforce after giving birth or adopting a child also tend to be more interested in aspects of the job that are not entirely related to how much money they will be making. If you are a company that is looking to hire top female talent, it’s important to offer working mothers benefits and incentives that they actually want.
Working women are an integral part of today’s workforce. The number of female entrepreneurs is also rising on a yearly basis. For both moms who own their own businesses and mothers who work for others, finding balance as a working mom is incredibly important.
For a working mom, juggling work responsibilities and the numerous additional obligations that come with raising a family is never easy. That’s why working women today are pickier when it comes to choosing their places of employment. They are also very commonly making that decision based on the number of work/life balance-friendly benefits that companies are offering, more so than on the height of the salaries that are being offered to them.
If your business is looking to attract and retain top female talent, here are seven benefits that will help you attract top-tier working mothers to your organization.
Providing staff with flexible work schedule options is one of the best ways for companies to recruiting working moms. When a woman is given more control over when and from where she can work, it makes the job much more attractive.
Flexibility is important because every mother has different needs when it comes to balancing caregiving responsibilities with work. For example, mothers of small children will probably be interested in being able to stay at home and work from home whenever they need to. Being able to stay close to newborn children even after maternity leave instead of having to be apart from them for eight or more hours a day is something that’s very important to new moms.
Mothers with older children might want different things when it comes to work schedule flexibility. They might appreciate having the opportunity to work compressed work weeks, for example, so that they can have a day to themselves during the week while still being able to dedicate a full weekend to their families.
Employers who offer flexible work schedules to mothers have a better chance of hiring and retaining them not only because work flexibility is a major benefit that many seek, but also because they are showing empathy and an understanding towards the needs of working mothers.
Surveys recently conducted by Care.com show that 64 percent of working parents worry about their kids every minute of the day. On top of that, another survey shows that the cost of childcare is the largest expense for many American families, averaging about $18,000 a year for two children who are in daycare.
It’s no surprise then that employers who provide childcare solutions are highly sought after by working mothers. As far as employers are concerned, the good thing is that there are a variety of options that they can possibly offer to working moms looking for help in taking care of their children while they are at work.
Of course, the ideal option would be offering on-site daycare options at a reasonable price, like Google does. However, that really isn’t an option for most companies. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t excellent, more affordable childcare options that you can offer.
One idea is to introduce flex spending for child care expenses, just like an employer would for the employee’s own health care costs, allowing working moms to pay for some of their childcare costs on a pre-tax basis.
Employers can also have a system for helping employees either find the right full-time nanny or offering a subsidized nanny that can step in if the employee’s child is sick and needs someone to stay at home with them.
Another option would be to allow parents to take a paid day off whenever their children are sick, which is a benefit that is being offered by more and more companies that are interested in hiring top female talent.
Unlimited Paid Time Off for the Working Mom
Unlimited vacation time is something that more and more companies have been implementing and not just for working mothers. Many employers are of the opinion that this type of benefit is yet another way to offer employees more flexibility and encourage a culture of trust in which employees will be more focused on getting their work done and performing their jobs with conviction and pride if they are allowed to take time off whenever they need it without any imposed limits on available vacation days.
Believe it or not, studies have shown that many American workers don’t even use the vacation days they are allotted, citing a fear of being left behind or losing their jobs. The philosophy of offering unlimited time off helps get rid of that fear factor and establishes a stronger level of trust between employer and employee in many cases.
Of course, employers have to be ready to put in extra work when it comes to managing vacation requests and be able to properly schedule employees in order to make sure that coverage remains flawless even under this type of relaxed vacation policy.
There’s always room to grow.
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Using reliable employee scheduling software and making sure that your processes are sophisticated enough to manage these types of leave policies should enable just about any company to offer these types of incentives, as long as they are willing to put in the necessary work.
Paid Maternity Leave
While all companies must offer unpaid maternity leave, according to a recent study, the number of companies that offer fully paid maternity leave is constantly dropping and the most recent figures show that only six percent of employers with 50 or more employees offered full pay during maternity leave in the United States.
Even when companies offer longer periods of unpaid maternity leave to new moms, most opt to not take full advantage of the time given to them, simply because they cannot offer to live for an extended period of time without getting paid.
It should come as a surprise then that companies that offer paid maternity leave are very attractive not only for working mothers but also all working women who are considering starting a family. Once again, offering paid maternity leave shows that you have empathy for your workers in this time that is very vital for parents and children when it comes to bonding with their children and finding their footing as parents.
While incentives and benefits that are related to family care are always a plus and certainly a priority, offering personal perks to show that you are taking care of and pampering your working mothers will never go unnoticed.
Managing and balancing work life with raising a family is very difficult, which is why it can never hurt to offer both on-site and off-site perks aimed at making working mothers’ lives easier and happier.
Perks like offering free lunch and unlimited coffee in the office, or paid yoga classes and gym subscriptions, can go a long way in making your company more attractive to working moms.
You can even get creative and offer amenities like in-office pedicures/manicures and visits from hairdressers. By providing these little things at work that working moms might not have time for after or before work can make your employees’ lives easier and make them appreciate you and the attention and understanding that you show for their situations and their super-busy work and personal schedules.
College Savings Plans
While retirement plans and options are on every worker’s mind, employers must remember that retirement is not the only future life event that working parents are putting money towards every month.
More and more employers are now offering college savings accounts in the same way that they offer retirement accounts to employees. Employees can direct a portion of every salary into a college savings account and receive the same tax advantages that come with similar retirement plans.
Just like with any other benefits that companies can offer to working parents, a majority of them will be more interested in incentives that benefit their family than ones that benefit them on a more personal level. College is a looming event that is on the minds of most parents as soon as their children are born, which makes college savings options offered by employers very enticing.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that working mothers very often have more people to take of besides their children. Many also have elderly parents who also need their physical, emotional and financial help to get by.
According to a recent Pew Research Center study, a majority of Americans believe that they are responsible for providing financial help to their aging parents. It’s also well known that eldercare can be incredibly expensive.
While it’s highly unlikely that your company is going to be able to cover your employees’ eldercare bills, there are still eldercare-related benefits that you can offer.
You can offer flexible spending accounts, similar to the ones you offer for your employees healthcare and/or childcare. You can even offer consultations with eldercare experts to help your employees find the right solutions or team up with eldercare organizations in your community to offer discounts for your employees.
If you decide to offer eldercare benefits to your employees, it will not go unnoticed, considering the fact that the number of people 65 and older in America is expected to nearly double by 2050.