Employees have a whole host of responsibilities outside of work, and compassionate and strategic employers understand this and act accordingly. Below is our checklist of considerations for an employee benefits program that is family-friendly, enabling work-life balance and lessening the need to choose between job and familial needs, ultimately helping solve for some of HR’s biggest challenges: recruitment, retention, absenteeism, mental health and productivity.

Get familiar with your population and demographics
o   Does your workforce trend younger, older, or a balanced mix?
o   Are there cultural, regional, or gender-based considerations at play?
o   Do your claims demonstrate specific health issues among employees or dependents?
o   Are most of your employees remote, hybrid or on-site?
o   Does the nature of employees’ work or work schedule present any concerns (e.g., physical labor, night shifts, healthcare staff susceptible to illness)?
Evaluate family-oriented provisions that are already in place via your health plan, corporate policies, voluntary benefits, or wellness programs 
o   Where are there gaps or room for improvement?
o   Have you accounted for nontraditional families in a way that aligns with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals? 
o   What benefits do you provide compared to similar companies with whom you are competing with for talent?
Armed with this information, consider a broad range of benefits or perks:
o   Paid parental leave (for mothers and fathers), including for adoption
o  Take it a step further by designing a plan that offers insurance coverage and/or assistance related to fertility treatments, adoption, surrogacy, and post-partum needs
o   Paid family leave / caregiver leave, for employees to care for aging parents, sick children, partners recovering from surgery, and more
o   Bereavement leave, so that workers have space to grieve and spend time with loved ones during a time of need
o   Flextime or alternative work schedules, for daycare pickup, doctors’ appointments, sporting events, and the like
o   Childcare assistance, such as an on-site facility or a stipend
o   Eldercare assistance, which could include financial and/or counselling and navigational help
o   Financial wellness benefits, for traditional use cases like retirement but extending to consider things like tuition, student debt and long-term care planning
o   Long-term care insurance, or related financial/educational resources, especially as states begin to consider statutory long-term care programs
o   Paid Time Off (PTO) – in many cases this represents a set number of days that can be used for various reasons, including the fun (vacation) and the not-so-fun
o   Enhanced mental health benefits or resources beyond standard EAP benefits for all members of the family
o   Pet insurance or “pawternity” leave – while it may seem offbeat, most pet owners consider their pets to be family members
Identify which family-focused benefits are most appropriate and feasible for your population, and fit with your company culture
Determine your budget or how desired benefits could be funded (e.g., fully funded by employer, fully funded by employee, or some combination) and contribution methods
Understand how different leave types and benefits would integrate with current offerings or if adjustments will be needed (e.g., phasing out sick banks for a more flexible paid time off policy)
Ensure compliance and cohesion with national, state and local policies surrounding family leave (FMLA, state Paid Family and Medical Leave, parental leave policies, etc.)
If appropriate, conduct a Request for Proposal (RFP) for any vendor-provided products or services
Consider engaging a consultant like Spring to guide you through this checklist!