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A growing number of employers in the U.S. are offering family-friendly benefits such as fertility services, paid leave and flexible scheduling to accommodate employees in today’s competitive labor market finds a report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Employee Benefits Survey: 2018 Results examines the family-friendly perks employers are offering and finds that many of the benefits have grown in prevalence over the last two years.

“There is definitely a growing trend of employers providing family-friendly benefits,” explained Julie Stich, CEBS, associate vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. “The study shows a steady increase across the board in recent years—and while none of these benefits saw a giant spike in prevalence, nearly all the benefits saw a small, consistent uptick in popularity.”

Fertility Benefits on the Rise

Nearly one-third (31%) of employers with 500 or more employees offer some sort of fertility benefit—up from 24% in 2016. Employers most commonly cover in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments (23%), fertility medications (18%), genetic testing to determine infertility issues (15%), non-IVF fertility treatments (13%), visits with counselors (9%) and egg harvesting or freezing services (7%).

Smaller employers are less likely to provide fertility benefits, but just like large employers the numbers are increasing. Of employers with 50 or fewer employees, 10% offer some sort of fertility benefits—up from 4% in 2016.

Employers Offering Paid Leave and Flexible Scheduling

Among employers of all sizes—from fewer than 50 to more than 10,000 employees—41% offer paid maternity leave (up from 37% in 2016) and 32% offer paid paternity leave (up from 24% in 2016). Twenty-one percent offer paid adoption leave.

Employers are providing additional types of paid leave including paid family/caregiving leave, offered by 17% of workplaces, and paid leave to attend a child’s activities, offered by 8%. When it comes to unpaid family leave options, 34% offer unpaid family leave beyond FMLA requirements, 26% offer unpaid adoption leave and 25% offer unpaid leave to attend a child’s activities.

Just over half (51%) of employers offer flexible work hours or compressed work weeks. And one in ten (9%) offers job sharing, where two or more employees share one full-time job.

Prevalence of Other Family-Friendly Benefits Continues to Grow

Employers are continuing to offer a wide range of other family-friendly perks. Benefits that have seen increases in the past two years include:

  • Dependent care flexible spending accounts – 74% (up from 69% in 2016)
  • Resource and referral services for child care – 27% (up from 22% in 2016)
  • Take Your Child to Work Day – 23% (up from 17% in 2016)
  • Financial assistance for adoption – 17% (up from 16% in 2016)
  • 529 plans – 15% (up from 10% in 2016).

Other less common family-friendly benefits include:

  • Resource and referral services for adopted children – 13%
  • Scholarships or paid tuition for employees’ children – 12%
  • Emergency/sick child care – 7%
  • On-site or near-site child care – 5%
  • Child-care subsidies – 3%
  • Parent coaching services – 1%
  • Special needs child care – 1%.

“Employers are recognizing that all employees have lives and commitments outside of the workplace and are expanding their benefits to be more inclusive. These types of benefits help employees address work-life conflicts, while keeping them productive and engaged at work,” explained Stich. “I expect we’ll see family-friendly benefits continue to grow as part of the larger trend of expanding work-life balance policies to be inclusive of all employees.”

For more information, or to access a copy of the report Employee Benefits Survey: 2018 Results, visit


The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is the premier educational organization dedicated to providing the diverse employee benefits community with objective, solution-oriented education, research and information to ensure the health and financial security of plan beneficiaries worldwide. The Foundation has more than 31,500 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members representing over 25 million lives. For additional information, visit