10 February 2023
Whilst health benefits for the workplace are nothing new, there are far more options today than there ever was before. The growth in healthtech has brought a wave of new innovations, apps and technologies that are helping boost the benefits market. Whether it is midwifery, fertility, menopause, paediatrics, men's health or MSK, there seems to be a specific specialism to suit a broad range of employees.
The two that stand out the most? Childcare and Eldercare. The battle between old and young. Protecting our future and our history respectively. What's more important in our society today? With childcare costs at an eye-watering level and eldercare consistently underrepresented, the two polarising benefits actually have a lot in common.
"Childcare costs are too high!" We all agree, don't worry.
But this is probably why we see huge swathes of childcare benefits available for UK employees. Whether it's an attempt to avoid sudden absenteeism or a way of getting more women back into the workforce, childcare is essential to help get employees back to work.
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill and Carer's Leave Bill are currently being discussed in the House of Commons. If these policies take effect, they would assist greatly in the childcare costs and time constraints. The bill would provide leave and pay for those with children receiving neonatal care and unpaid leave for staff with caring responsibilities.
Whilst nothing is set in stone, it appears that childcare is consistently a hot topic with plenty of policies and benefits alike. There's no doubt they are widely represented with a host of welcomed changes to come in the future. But wait, aren't we forgetting someone?
"The future will soon be a thing of the past." ~ George Carlin
Undervalued and underrepresented, eldercare benefits are very far behind that of childcare. But for good reason, right? No, not really. Due to the UK's ageing population, the time has never been more prevalent to enable employees all the support they need to deal with the impending burden of looking after an elderly loved one. And when it happens, there's barely any support in how to traverse the care journey: how do I find a care home? What do I need to consider? How do I sort out a Will? Can I take time off work? How much does it cost? And speaking of costs. If you think childcare costs are extortionate, eldercare costs might cause you to buckle at the knees. In the UK, people spend £23 billion on care services per year, with the average care home fees costing families £50,000 annually.
The ONS forecasts that by 2024 (next year!) there will be more elderly dependencies than child dependencies per person.
Data Source: The Office for National Statistics
This isn't a future problem, it's a 'now' problem. And it looks like employers are slow on the uptake. The number of working adults with eldercare responsibilities will grow substantially, posing a threat to the well-being and economic stability of both workers and their organisations. Like childcare, eldercare responsibilities are likely to cause sudden absentees, mental health difficulties and low productivity across the board.
However, Seniorcare by Lottie is the leading eldercare benefit solution in the UK. We are taking great steps to support employees that are looking to care for a loved one and work at the same time. Go a step further and check out our proposition here.
This is not a war. There is no need to take sides. What is more beneficial: childcare or eldercare is irrelevant. Benefit suppliers need to work together to create a holistic approach that works for the entire family. Of course, this is a long way off, but with a bit of collaboration this benefit is a reality. Some businesses that provide an employee childcare benefit, also provide an eldercare bolt-on service. However, employees don't need a bolt-on, but comprehensive support and planning for their loved one. More can be done by working together to create workplace benefits that help the entire family. Both childcare and eldercare rely on expertise and trusted guidance. So whilst their context might be slightly different, the overall aim is to relieve burden, remove complexity and enable employees to continue their career.
A collection of engaging articles, guides and insights for leading Benefits Professionals