Despite companies focusing on reducing cash burn, we have seen an increase in companies investing in employee well-being and mental health.
As companies keep a close eye on their burn, the ability to optionally work from the office may become a competitive advantage.
While companies are reassessing spend across various employee benefits, one area we see that hasn’t been impacted is mental health
Mental Health Benefits
Mental health has continued to grow as the focal point of employee wellbeing programs since the pandemic. Companies continue to invest in their employees’ mental and emotional health, with mental/emotional & behavioral support becoming the core of wellbeing programs. Most companies don’t offer cash stipends around mental health as they offer this benefit through employee assistance program (EAP), or through a platform such as Modern Health or Thrive Global. For those that do offer a cash stipend, the ranges for companies are $250 - $3,000 annually.
In a recent survey by Sequoia Benefits, 94% of employers cite work-life balance/burnout as their top concern for employees in 2022.
Modern Health is the comprehensive mental health and wellness platform that combines the WHO well-being assessment, self-service wellness kits, a global network of certified coaches, and licensed therapists, all available in a single app. Modern Health empowers employers to lead the charge in acknowledging that mental health is just as important as physical health, de-stigmatizing the conversation, and increasing accessibility of mental health services for all.
Thrive Global is an employee experience platform designed to beat stress and burnout. The Thrive platform puts behavior change solutions at peoples’ fingertips. Thrive embeds well-being directly in the daily workflow to meet people where they are with real-time stress-reducing tools, inspirational storytelling, and science-backed Microsteps that help them build better habits.
Paid Parental Leave
Range of Paid Parental Leave
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“When you're structuring parental leave programs, while it's important to have a well benchmarked leave program, research has shown that the reintegration into the workforce is the even more retentive measure. At Gem, we are intentional about what the experience will be like for our Gem parents returning - providing them with a 4 day work week for the first 8 weeks, giving them a 'new parent buddy,' equipping managers with the best ways to think about reintegrating a new parent, and extra stipends around mental health that extend to their partners as well."
- Heather Dunn, Chief People Officer at Gem
Primary vs Secondary Caretaker Leave
For companies <500 employees, over half offer the same paid parental leave benefits for primary vs secondary caretakers. For companies with 500+ employees, majority do not offer the same amount of leave.
“I think it’s more of a legacy thing to think of primary vs secondary as it’s pretty close to saying maternity vs paternity. It implies that parental roles are unequal. There are medical reasons why a mother could need more time but if we’re thinking of creating equitable structures we should think more of what is right for parents and then if someone needs more time for medical reasons fine but the ‘floor’ for all parents is X and we believe if we provide equitable leave we will have less instances when X parents get back to work quicker and Y stay out longer - as that scenario could happen unintentionally and yet change career trajectories for those two people inequitably.”
- David Hanrahan, Former CHRO at Eventbrite, which offers 18 weeks for all parents.
Sequoia specializes in helping companies get their total people investment right. By tying compensation, benefits, wellbeing, and key organizational data together into one view and then supporting it with expert guidance, they help companies hone a people strategy that aligns what’s best for their people and their business. Below are insights from Sequoia’s team.
As healthcare costs continue to rise, employers are considering their options to reduce spending and improve healthcare affordability for employees. Two trends we are seeing are companies offering employee-only coverage at no cost and opting for plans that have lower premiums, lower deductibles, and are eligible for health benefits accounts.
The number of companies offering high-deductible health plans has increased from 75% in 2021 to 82% in 2022 and the most common deductible dropped from $2,800 (single)/$5,400 (family) in 2021 to $1,500 (single)/$3,000 (family) in 2022.
An increasing number of employers, 70% in 2022 compared to 55% in 2021, are offering employee-only coverage for these plans at no cost.
A number of companies are considering refreshing employee benefits to reflect a hybrid/remote work environment. Highlights include:
Wellness/mental health days off.
Continued monthly Friday off.
Two weeks of rest for 2022 in addition to company-wide holidays.
“We put this in place and it has completely changed in a positive way our employees perception in this area. Ironically, positive scores in this area is not a strong predictor of engagement as it’s hard to measure direct impact to employee engagement/productivity - so not for every company.”
- Rich Jacquet, Chief People Officer at Coursera
Healthcare Coverage Opt-Out:
Majority of companies do not offer a cash stipend for employees who opt-out of their healthcare coverage, but for those who do, the range is anywhere between $250-$1,500.
Support for Employees Seeking Healthcare Outside of their Current Area:
Survey from July 2022: In light of recent events, are you considering providing support for people seeking health care outside of their current state? (i.e. abortion, cancer treatment, specialized medical care outside their current region)
Over 60% of companies with more than 100 employees cover travel for access to medical care that is legally restricted / unavailable in their state.
Financial support ranges by company. This can look like a one-time travel reimbursement for any medical procedure not available within their state (one-time amount: $1,500 - $5,000), to wellness benefits which are more broad and can be used for mental health / fitness. The wellness benefits range from one-time stipends of $1,200 - $10,000.
Companies with 200+ employees are planning to expand HRA benefits to include out of state specialized medical care.
Amount ranges from: $1,500 - $5,000.
A few examples:
“An HRA that allows employees and their dependents to travel to a different state that will provide medical care that is legally restricted in their home state. This is broader than abortion and reproductive care and allow for gender-affirming care as well.”
“We are partnering with our providers at Level to introduce a travel bank: a lifetime value of $4k that can be spent on medical travel.”