Benefits and Compensation, HR Management & Compliance

Increase in Caregiving Benefits Beyond the Requirements of the Law

Caregiving benefits are on the rise. A recent survey shows that the majority of employers in the United States are increasing paid leave benefits. That includes expanding existing benefits, adding new benefits, broadening eligibility, and more.

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The survey, called Large Employers’ Leave Strategy and Transformation Survey, was conducted by Business Group on Health and sought to understand the leave landscape in the United States.

The survey found that almost 4 in 10 (39%) respondents expanded paid leave benefits in 2019, 38% are making changes this year, and 35% are considering making changes by 2022. All of these changes would be beyond the requirements of the law. More specifically:

  • 30% of employers added new leave programs in 2019. Additionally, 24% are planning to add programs this year (with 18% considering new programs in 2021/2022).
  • 24% of employers increased the duration of leave available last year. Additionally, 23% plan to increase the duration of leave this year (with 23% considering doing so in 2021/2022).
  • 12% of employers expanded eligibility for leave benefits last year.  Additionally, 8% plan to expand eligibility this year (with 15% considering doing so in 2021/2022).

“Employee well-being is a top area of focus for employers. Employers are investing in leave benefits as part of a more holistic view of the role employee well-being plays in workforce strategy,” says Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of Business Group on Health. He added, “Leave benefits, especially for new parents and working caregivers, are highly valued by employees and address a growing area of need. Employers are evaluating and, in many cases, expanding these and other benefits to help meet those needs.”

More Employers Embracing Caregiver, Expanding Bereavement Leave

Employer interest in supporting employees with caregiving responsibilities is growing. Over a third of respondents (35%) offer caregiver leave benefits, and another 28% are considering it by 2022.

Interestingly, many employers have gone beyond leave to care for a spouse, child, or parent to also cover others employees may have caregiving responsibilities for: 46% cover siblings, 46% cover parents of a spouse/partner, and 38% cover grandparents.

The survey also noted that employers understand the importance of being there for employees when they need support. In fact, all respondents in the survey offer bereavement leave. On average, employers offer 6 days of bereavement leave, with some providing up to 20 days.

“We expect large employers to continue expanding leave benefits in the coming years and not just for parents and caregivers. In fact, employers are looking to volunteer leave, bereavement leave, military leave, mental health days, and summer Fridays off. Employers see their roles changing and want to support employees during the times they need it most,” says LuAnn Heinen, vice president of Business Group on Health.

You can see the complete results here.