It’s not easy for new parents to juggle work and family. That’s why some companies offer perks to help employees transition into parenthood while continuing to succeed at the office.
From on-site daycare to flexible work hours to reimbursement for infertility treatments, family-friendly benefits improve employees’ quality of life, which can strengthen loyalty to their employer, says Gina Robison-Billups, founder and CEO of The National Association for Moms in Business. “It doesn’t have to be big [perks],” she says. “Small steps can be equally appreciated because you [as the employee] just know that the company cares equally about keeping you as you care about keeping your job.”
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Here are eight perks for new parents that companies across the country offer to employees:
1. On-site daycare. Would you feel more comfortable going back to work if you knew you could bring your child with you? On-site daycare allows parents to visit their children, even breastfeed, during the workday. And it makes it easy to drop the kids off at daycare before work and pick them up at the end of the day.
A company that offers this perk: Cisco Systems, maker of computer networking equipment, has two child-care centers at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif., with space for about 800 children between the ages of six weeks and 12 years. Using a digital monitoring system, parents can view their children at the centers from their work laptops.
2. More than six weeks maternity leave: How much paid leave does your employer offer for new mothers? Likely around six weeks—and Robinson-Billups says that’s not enough to satisfy many working moms.
A company that offers this perk: Bank of America offers paid maternity, paternity, and adoption leave for up to 12 weeks. The company also provides up to 14 additional weeks of unpaid leave, for a combined total of 26 weeks.
[Take our poll: Which workplace perk would you most appreciate as a parent?]
3. Paternity leave. Most fathers don’t get any time off after a birth or adoption. But when it’s offered, male employees often appreciate the benefit, particularly when the time off is paid.
A company that offers this perk: Law firm Covington & Burling offers six weeks of paid leave for new fathers, for both births and adoptions.
4. Meal and cleaning vouchers. With a baby in the house, it can be difficult to find time to cook and clean, especially once parents have gone back to work. Wouldn’t it be nice if your employer covered bills for domestic upkeep?
A company that offers this perk: Google offers new parents $500 in what they call Baby Bonding Bucks, a reimbursement that can be used for take-out food or delivery meals, as well as cleaning and diaper services.
5. Infertility treatment reimbursement. Infertility treatments can be expensive, especially when it takes a few tries to be successful. And the stress of that financial burden could affect an employee’s productivity.
A company that offers this perk: Toy company Mattel offers reimbursement of up to $10,000 for infertility treatments, a benefit that’s available to both full-time employees and part-timers who work at least 30 hours each week.
6. Flexible hours or telecommuting. Having the option to mold your work schedule around responsibilities at home can ease stress for new parents. Maybe it works better with your spouse’s schedule if you shift your workday two hours earlier, starting your day before your colleagues. Or maybe you’d simply like the option of working from home once in a while.
A company that offers this perk: Of all the perks on our list, this one is most widely offered, which is why we didn’t pick just one company. Many employers allow employees to work from home or follow a work schedule that deviates from the standard nine-to-five. If your company doesn’t have an official policy, try asking your boss whether there’s any room for flexibility.
7. Adoption assistance. Adoptions can cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on whether you go through the U.S. foster system or a private or international agency.
A company that offers this perk: Acounting firm Deloitte reimburses employees for adoption-related expenses, up to $5,000 per child. Eligible expenditures include agency fees, legal fees, medical expenses for the birth mother, and transportation for both the adopted child and adoptive parents. The company also offers an adoption-assistance program, which provides information about licensed adoption agencies, private adoptions, and state regulations.
8. Unlimited sick days. Like telecommuting, this perk benefits more than parent employees. But moms and dads with a new baby at home are likely to appreciate the leeway that much more.
A company that offers this perk: SAS, a software provider, allows employees to take an unlimited number of sick days. Workers can’t control when they’re sick, says vice president of human resources Jenn Mann, so the company trusts them to take the time they need for themselves or their child to heal.
Does your employer offer a perk we’re missing? Tell us about it in the comments.