Innovative companies have realized that investing in the well-being of employees is essential to thriving businesses. Healthy employees are more productive, energetic, and focused. When employers invest in their employees’ well-being, it increases engagement, and employees are more committed to their work and the organization’s success. Future-focused HR leaders are extending lifestyle benefits to support employees as they care for the ones they love.
Employers know that employees are more engaged when they have peace of mind with their loved ones, whether their family includes people or pets. Level up your employee benefits strategy by adding care to your Lifestyle Spending Account program. Provide strategic benefits that are more inclusive of your people’s needs no matter their life stage.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Inclusive care needs for each generation of your workplace
- Funding care costs to meet the needs of working families
- 12 best ways to provide lifestyle benefits for your people to support their loved ones
- What to discount, subsidize, and fund
- LSAs expand your care benefits to be truly inclusive
Inclusive care needs for each generation of your workplace
Adding care benefits to your LSA program fills in traditional benefits gaps to meet your people where they are. Child or dependent care, elder care, and pet care all fall within the embrace of care benefits. No matter who your people dedicate their love to, LSAs can offer support and assistance.
In our modern workplaces, five generations of employees require more holistic and inclusive coverage for their diverse care needs. LSAs allow employees to choose benefits based on their unique needs and life moments. Adding care benefits to your LSA program fills in traditional benefits gaps to meet your people where they are. Child or dependent care, elder care, and pet care all fall within the embrace of care benefits. No matter who your people dedicate their love to, LSAs can offer support and assistance.
Caregiving priorities can vary across the generations, just as relationships change over time, and not all members of a generation will have the same caregiving responsibilities at the same moment. However, there are some generational trends that impact the personalized support you offer to your people.
For many in Gen Z, pet care is top of mind at this moment. No matter the generation, many consider pets to be integral family members who contribute positively to physical and mental health. Flexible work arrangements, such as remote work or pet-friendly office policies, help your people care for their beloved pets. Flexibility, even a few days a week, can reduce the need for pet daycare or pet-sitting services. Additionally, employers can offer LSA funds to offset the costs of these services so their people can be fully present for work at work.
Millennials and Gen X
Millennials and Gen X may need childcare and help juggling their work and home life responsibilities. Like younger generations, they may prefer or require flexible work arrangements and seek parental leave, daycare support, and work-from-home options to care for their children while maintaining their careers. As they age, these generations increasingly find themselves between caring for their aging parents and their children.
Baby Boomers and Silent Generation
Many Baby Boomers are now in the stage of life where they care for their parents. Providing financial support, arranging healthcare, and becoming caregivers requires balance and lots of support. Employers can help alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with elder care and offer support networks so employees can thrive at work while still focusing on caring for their loved ones. The eldest generations in the workforce may also want to be active in the lives of their children and grandchildren.
Funding care costs to meet the needs of working families
Child care is often the second largest household expense after rent or mortgage. According to the Treasury Department, childcare is unaffordable for more than 60 percent of families who need it. In much of the country, daycare costs more than in-state college tuition and nearly 20%of the median household income—twice what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers affordable
The childcare crisis is keeping women out of the workforce. This problem only worsens for working families as pandemic spending to support American childcare centers ended in September 2023. Any effort by employers to lower costs around child care will support working parents and pay dividends across the board! Working parents who can count on safe, affordable, high-quality childcare are less stressed and remain productive and focused at work.
Great insurance and employee wellness programs are core to thriving companies. Now, compassionate employers are subsidizing preventive pet care, such as vaccinations, annual check-ups, dental cleanings, and grooming.
12 best ways to provide lifestyle benefits for your people to support their loved ones
1. Provide a network of support for caregivers
Offer counseling and support for employees facing challenges such as shifting relationships, navigating life transitions, and addressing behavioral needs. Community-focused Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and support from colleagues who have navigated elder care responsibilities can create a support network for caregivers.
2. Connect employees with daily care programs
Care for loved ones during the work day is top of mind for any employee with caregiving responsibilities. Not only would your people appreciate funds for caring for parents, children, and pets during the workday, but connecting them with a trusted network to find adult daytime care, childcare, or doggie daycare is a bonus.
3. Support in-home caregiving
Some people and pets prefer to be at home. Caregiver assistance benefits include subsidies for in-home care costs, whether nursing care, a nanny, or a dog sitter. Consider directly contributing to employees’ caregiver assistance accounts to help cover in-home care expenses.
4. Subsidize accessible transportation
Transportation subsidies for loved ones of employees who cannot drive or have disabilities or mobility challenges can support independence and make medical appointments and social outings more accessible.
5. Prioritize healthy food
Offering funds for meal deliveries, a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership, or meal kits promotes total well-being and makes it easier for caregivers to provide nutritious meals for themselves and those they care for.
6. Embrace respite care
Respite care provides caregivers with much-needed temporary relief from their caregiving responsibilities. Providing this support and destigmatizing the need for respite can help caregivers manage their work-life balance and reduce burnout.
7. Plan for last-minute care
Whether daycare is closed for the week, a professional caregiver is temporarily unavailable, or a dog walker fell through, addressing last-minute care needs through a safety net and funding avoids employee stress and absenteeism.
8. Empower school choice and educational support
Many families would make different choices best to meet their child(ren)’s educational needs if they had additional financial means. Just as work-from-home has become a normal, so has school-from-home. Offering your employees reimbursable resources such as tuition support, textbooks, tutoring, or teaching supplies empowers them to choose the best learning environment to meet kids’ unique needs.
9. Supplement activities and lessons
The school day famously does not align with the professional workday, and often, children don’t get all of the educational, physical, and social-emotional needs met by in-school activities. Funding for extracurriculars, clubs, lessons, and summer camp can fill the timing gaps between school and work days and supplement holistic learning and meaningful connections for children, giving their parents peace of mind.
10. Support family expansion (fertility and adoption)
Offer financial assistance for your people to expand their families however they see fit. Whether it’s responsible pet adoption, fertility, and reproductive health support, gender-affirming care, or the adoption of a child, time off to employees as they welcome new members, funds for adoption fees, offsetting fertility costs who adopt pets from shelters or rescue organizations.
11. Provide financial advising services
Employer-sponsored financial advising services can assist employees in better caring for their parents, children, and pets by providing comprehensive financial guidance and support. Help employees manage the financial aspects of caregiving, including long-term planning for care, navigating Medicaid or Medicare and other government assistance programs, budgeting for care expenses, saving for college, or planning for retirement.
Align your HR calendar to February’s Financial Wellness Month, or offer support throughout the year through company-provided financial literacy challenges.
12. Fund pet insurance, training, and wellness programs
Great insurance and employee wellness programs are core to thriving companies. Now, compassionate employers subsidize preventive pet care, such as vaccinations, annual check-ups, dental cleanings, and grooming. These employers also understand the importance of training for the safety and well-being of pets and add pet care to the total wellness package for their people.
What to discount, subsidize, and fund
Whether to offer discounts, subsidize, or outright fund employee care benefits depends on your LSA budget and desired outcomes. A good rule of thumb is to fund the benefit that most acutely impacts your employees’ overall health and well-being, subsidize nice-to-have benefits, and offer discounts with partners wherever possible. That way, rather than finding yourself with too many vendors to manage, you can streamline your care offerings with a unique and customizable curated list of providers that offer discounts in the Espresa marketplace.
As you define your LSA program care benefits, you can also consider tailoring your program to employees’ unique needs by paying a percentage amount of your employees’ total care costs, setting a fixed amount you contribute to caregiving for each employee, or creating a sliding scale program where employees with lower wages get more benefits than those with a higher salary. You can set a maximum fund limit in each model to suit your budget and program goals.
LSAs expand your care benefits to be genuinely inclusive
Societal and workplace dynamics continue to evolve, affecting how people balance their work and caregiving roles. Companies that recognize these evolving needs and provide supportive policies can better attract and retain a diverse workforce with varying caregiving responsibilities.
LSAs can expand your FSA care offerings by filling in gaps and meeting the care needs of every generation in your workforce so your company is genuinely inclusive.
Show your people you care about who they care for. Adding care benefits to your Lifestyle Spending Account program gives employees freedom and flexibility for life. With the Espresa platform, HR delivers what your employees want and need. Happy people make more successful companies. Be the company where happiness happens!