• Thomas Hart

The way in which HR departments are altering employee benefits amid COVID-19


It has been almost a year since the advent of COVID-19 in the United States, and employers continue to reassess the challenges that it has brought forth for the employees.

Care.com, which is a platform that helps find as well as managing family care, has recently disclosed the 2021 Future of Benefits Report, wherein it shed light upon the way in which COVID-19 has impacted the plans of the employers to alter as well as extend the benefits that they offer to their workers now and in the future.


The report, which includes responses from C-suite executives as well as HR leaders across the country, assesses the way in which benefits such as family care are being prioritized for children as well as the elderly over other benefits, including commuter benefits as well as office meals, due to the pandemic’s effect on the way in which employees function, along with their performance, well-being, as well as attrition.


In total, 98% of the employers questioned had revealed that they plan on expanding that the benefits that they offer in some manner. According to Care.com, this increase in the family care benefits is an "HR awakening," as 82% of the respondents have recognized that their specific companies are now more familiar with the care-based challenges faced by their employees since the pandemic began. A minimum of fifty percent of the respondents has observed a decrease in the productivity among the parents of minors, while 64% have reported a boost in the rates of attrition. Interestingly, 95% of the employers have attributed this change to care-based concerns. In order to tackle this attrition, employers plan on offering better work flexibility (66%) along with the execution of childcare benefits (63%).


According to the responses in the report, it is probable that the better family care benefits are here to stay. About 50% of employers have remarked that the advantages posed by childcare benefits outweigh the expenses. Furthermore, 65% of the respondents chose “flexibility” as the probable positive effect of the care benefits, along with enhanced employee mental health (59%) as well as bolstered productivity (53%).


According to Alyssa Johnson, who is the vice president of global client management for Care.com, there has been a need for enhanced childcare benefits for a while now, and the pandemic merely acted as the catalyst. Childcare is crucial for essentially everything. Devoid of this, it is not possible for parents to work, and the result is that business cannot grow anymore. Moreover, the pandemic has also altered where as well as how a lot of us work, and these changes may eventually become permanent. The greatest advantage of the lack of boundaries between home and work is that companies are now recognizing employees as humans instead of mere workers. According to our research, the result is that the way in which organizations invest in as well as prioritize care benefits has turned from ‘nice to have’ to ‘crucial.’”


Furthermore, it not possible to disconnect family care benefits from the downsides, as well as the loss of jobs among women- specifically women of color- due to the pandemic. This report resonates with other studies related to the workforce as 71% have reported a higher rise in attrition among their female employees, and 91% were concerned about this change.

Johnson remarked that everyone loses in a context wherein women are coerced into selecting either their jobs or their kids. Substantial research has stated that according to the employers, better childcare benefits can significantly decrease attrition among female workers, and thus, many are looking to incorporate them in their benefits offerings eventually. Some of the benefits are subsidized access to care platforms, backup care, cash subsidies for childcare, and more.

Mental health is also being prioritized by HR departments today, since for several employees, working at home for several months, regardless of the conditions and the number of people at home, have resulted in negative physical, emotional, and mental effects among employees. The pandemic has strengthened the implications of stress, and several people are already facing high burnout.


Although 61% of employers have claimed that they already provide certain kinds of mental health benefits, about 41% among them are looking to expand them this year. More than two-thirds of parents who sought assistance for the mental health of their children after the advent of the pandemic have claimed that their children demonstrated deteriorated emotional well-being (72%), behavior (68%), as well as physical health, which were ascribed to the decline in the activities and exercise (68%) that they performed. According to 59% of HR managers, better mental health will be a significant implication of the caregiving benefits, and according to research, the percentage rose to 68% in organizations with over 2,000 workers.


But in case the employers stick to enhancing resources as well as benefits in a specific area, another area will have to experience a hit. About 89% of employers have stated that, because of the pandemic, at least one kind of benefit is being deprioritized, among paid vacation days, commuter benefits, tuition reimbursement, on-site meals, and on-site childcare.


Although every organization is different, it is evident that the future of all work will remain flexible. A particular model does not describe where, how, and when people are working, and hence, the conventional model of benefits is rendered outdated. Although PTO, as well as vacation, continue to enjoy high demand, this will exist in tandem with the demand for offerings that minimize stress as well as friction every day, such as backup care or other everyday childcare alternatives that are flexible. There has been an increase in the number of companies prioritizing flexible culture, which allows employees to succeed anywhere and anyway in which they work.


This specific study was carried out with the help of the online survey platform Pollfish, and DKC Analytics was used to compile it. The sample includes 500 C-suite HR leaders as well as managers in the United States, who were surveyed between Dec. 16, 2020, and Jan. 6, 2021. The error margin was reported to be 2.23%, and the sample has been weighted for an even gender balance.

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