Supporting Working Parents Along the Parenting Journey

4 Critical Tactics to Building Future-Forward Parental Benefits Policies
4 Critical Tactics to Building Future-Forward Parental Benefits Policies

When offices abruptly shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, working parents - and the myriad daily challenges of managing kids and a career - were suddenly thrust into the spotlight.

The reality is that for many organizations, supporting working parents has been a focus for years. Studies from the past few years show that employees were already asking employers to provide greater flexibility and better support their need to balance work and home obligations. According to a 2019 FlexJobs survey1, 69% of respondents said that flexible work options were one of the "most important factors" they consider when evaluating a job prospect, while 73% considered "work-life balance" a top priority.

Even though the need to provide workplace parental benefits was already gaining attention before COVID-19 entered the picture, the pandemic accelerated its urgency. As working parents made a sudden shift to remote work at the same time that schools closed down, many challenges emerged, and they often differed across the parenting journey. Parents with young children struggled with childcare as many facilities closed or restricted their capacity. Parents of schoolaged children suddenly found themselves needing to take charge of their children's remote learning. No matter the age of their kids, parents found themselves grappling, more than ever, with the idea that success at work and success at home are mutually exclusive. The impact is startling, with over 700,000 working parents leaving the workforce in 2020

The impact on working mothers has been even more substantial. Mothers cut their work hours at a much higher rate than fathers during the pandemic, and many more women than men left the workforce altogether

This is a disturbing trend for any employer committed to creating a diverse workplace with equitable opportunities for men and women to advance their careers, and experts say it may take years to make back gains in equity within the job market.

As we emerge from the pandemic, employers are already seeing a hot, competitive talent market, 6 with parents of minor children comprising one-third of the workforce.7 In this landscape, equitable, robust parental benefits will no longer be optional for employers seeking to attract and retain parents, and that these benefits need to address the different challenges along the parenting journey, which are not one-size-fits-all.

The good news is that innovative HR leaders have an opportunity to be future-forward, establishing parental benefits policies in their organizations that truly help employees manage home life as well as work life. Doing so will help them emerge with stronger workforces: they will be able to attract and retain top talent, improve workforce engagement, and be known for providing best-in-class benefits. Erin Leviant, Real Estate and Workplace Event Manager at Twitter, is one human resources professional who envisions just that in the future.

Key Takeaways

About This Report

Best-in-class parental benefits are not one-size-fits-all and need to address different challenges along the parenting journey, including the school years from ages 5-18 that many benefits programs overlook.

Working parents expect employers to offer scheduling flexibility and help with their children's care and education needs - and they may move on if organizations don't provide those benefits.

The pandemic experience exposed many of the pain points of working parents and led more employers to implement new benefits to help them cope.

Workplace parental benefits enable employees to be more focused and productive in their work, knowing that their employer is assisting them with tools to provide for their children's needs.

Supporting working parents is a business imperative for employers. No organization can afford to miss out on the contributions this group of employees can make to its success.

About the Publisher

Outschool for Employers helps companies attract, support, and retain working moms and caregivers by offering a unique benefit that acknowledges the unique journey of parenting, increases productivity, and lowers stress. Outschool's 100,000+ online, small-group classes for ages 3-18 give parents time to focus on work and on themselves knowing their kids are exploring their passions and learning from expert, vetted, teachers, in a safe, high-quality online learning environment. To learn more about how Outschool partners with HR leaders, visit

Publish Date

October 2021