Why family-friendly benefits are indispensable
The importance of family friendliness in the world of work is increasing. In a survey conducted by the German Family Ministry, over 90% of employees stated that the family-friendliness of their employer is just as important to them as their salary.
Companies have also long since recognised this across the board. In the IW Cologne’s Family-Friendly Company Monitor, 86% of the companies surveyed stated that family-friendly measures are important. As part of the study, more than 80% of HR managers also stated that they see work-life balance becoming increasingly important for securing skilled labour in the future. Family friendliness is a success factor for companies in the future.
At a time when work-life balance plays a central role for many employees, family-friendly benefits have become a decisive factor in employee retention and recruitment. Companies that offer their employees support in family matters through appropriate benefits not only signal their appreciation, but also help to create a positive working atmosphere and attract talented specialists. By providing family-friendly benefits, companies can increase their attractiveness as an employer and build long-term relationships with their employees.
Top 5 family-friendly benefits for 2024
What are the most important family-friendly benefits that will play a role in 2024 and beyond?
1. Flexible working hours and home office
Flexible working hours are by far the most important aspect for many when it comes to an employer’s family-friendliness. The option of flexible working hours or working from home enables employees to better adapt their work to individual life circumstances and family commitments – be it childcare, fertility treatment or caring for relatives. Companies that offer flexible working hours and home office show understanding for the needs of their employees and promote a healthy work-life balance.
Flexible working hours and the option to work from home are particularly important for women, who often take on even more care work in the family and also have many medical appointments during fertility treatment. They enable women to better adapt their working hours to the needs of their family while pursuing a successful career. Flexibility in the workplace makes women feel supported and valued, which strengthens their motivation and loyalty to the company. The Women in the Workplace 2023 Report by McKinsey clearly shows that increasing flexibility in the workplace allows women to pursue a career. Women are becoming more ambitious. 80% want to be promoted to the next career level, compared to 70% in 2019. 20% of women state that increasing flexibility has helped them to stay in their job or that they have not had to reduce their working hours as a result.
2. Childcare subsidies
Childcare allowances are an important family-friendly benefit that offers employees with children financial support with childcare costs. This benefit can provide financial relief for families, as childcare costs often make up a significant proportion of family income. Childcare allowances are particularly important for working parents as they help them to maintain a work-life balance.
Companies that offer childcare allowances are signalling to their employees that they support their family commitments and are interested in their long-term commitment as an employer. According to the IW Cologne report, 23.9% of the companies surveyed offered a subsidy in 2023, compared to 15.7% in 2015. For companies, the tax subsidy is certainly also relevant here, as childcare allowances are tax-privileged in Germany.
3. Parental leave and return-to-work programmes
Parental leave programmes and re-entry programmes are other family-friendly benefits that companies should definitely have on their list in 2024.
One important measure that companies can take is to increase parental allowance to 100% of salary for a few months. Parental allowance is a state benefit that parents in Germany receive when they take time off work after the birth of their child. By topping up the parental allowance for their employees, companies can help to compensate for financial losses during parental leave and enable employees to make a smoother transition to parental leave. This can be a very important financial benefit, especially for employees with higher salaries who may exceed the new limit for parental allowance with their partner.
Another important aspect is the so-called paternity months, which allow fathers to take a longer break from work to look after their children more intensively. Studies show that fathers who take parental leave develop a closer bond with their children and lead happier and more balanced family lives in the long term. Companies that actively support paternity leave and encourage their fathers to take parental leave demonstrate a modern understanding of gender roles and promote gender equality in work and family life.
In addition to parental leave programmes, targeted re-entry programmes can help employees to successfully return to work after a longer period of absence. These programmes can include, for example, mentoring, training and flexible working time models to make the return to work as smooth as possible. Companies that offer targeted re-entry programmes signal to their employees that they support and encourage their professional development even after a period of absence.
4. Fertility & Family Building Benefits
Fertility & Family Building Benefits are benefits that companies offer their employees to support them in the family planning phase. This can include, for example, access to information and counselling services or financial support for fertility treatments or adoptions. Through Onuava, companies and their employees have access to the most comprehensive fertility and family-building support benefits.
Fertility & Family Building Benefits are particularly important because family planning – especially when it is not so easy – is associated with high financial and emotional burdens. On average, one in six company employees is affected by infertility during the course of their working life. Companies that offer Fertility & Family Building Benefits not only show a deep understanding of the individual needs of their employees, but also give them access to the best family planning support, which they would otherwise usually not have access to.
Nothing signals the family-friendliness of a company as clearly and unambiguously as when a company supports its employees right from the start of their family.
5. Other support for families (e.g. sleep coaching or help with homework)
Other family-friendly benefits extend to making life with children and the compatibility of parenthood and work easier for parents. These include, for example, baby sleep coaching or homework supervision as an employee benefit.
Baby sleep coaching as an employee benefit addresses one of the main challenges faced by parents of young children. The sleep patterns of newborns can be a real challenge for parents. Companies that offer their employees professional support in the form of sleep coaching for their babies not only help parents to sleep more restfully, but also promote the well-being and mental health of the entire family. A rested and relaxed start to the day has a positive effect on work performance and shows that the company takes the needs of its employees seriously at every stage of life.
Tutoring or homework supervision as a benefit can also be a relief for working parents, as the hours after work are often characterised by the challenge of taking care of their children’s homework. Companies that offer homework supervision or tutoring as a benefit support their employees in maintaining a balance between work and family life. Such a measure can relieve the burden on working parents and help them to utilise their working hours more effectively without compromising their children’s school work. Companies that offer homework supervision or tutoring as a benefit support their employees in maintaining a balance between work and family life. Such a measure can relieve the burden on working parents and help them to utilise their working hours more effectively without neglecting their children’s school commitments.
Family-friendly benefits are a decisive factor in employee retention and recruiting. Companies that support their employees in balancing work and family life not only show their appreciation, but also increase their attractiveness as an employer. This applies not only to large companies, but also and especially for medium-sized companies. By providing childcare allowances, parental leave arrangements, fertility benefits and mental health programmes, companies can create a positive and supportive working environment and also score highly in terms of employee retention and recruitment.