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18 Types of Inclusive Benefits and How To Offer Them

Traditional benefits exclude certain people in your company. Learn how to make your employee benefits inclusive to all.

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Diversity equity, and inclusion has become a top priority, as ethical companies strive to improve the employee experience for all workers. 

Some set up employee resource groups to amplify the voices of underrepresented communities. Others improve their diversity hiring policies to ensure people of any race, gender, age, or background are welcome in their organizations.

Delivering inclusive employee benefits is an important way to show that your company genuinely cares about the wellbeing of its people. This guide suggests 18 trending benefits you can offer to positively impact your workplace, including how to incorporate them into your benefits mix. 

What makes employee benefits inclusive?

Inclusive employee benefits support all workers in their personal and professional lives, regardless of their race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, work location, financial status, or any other factor. As the name suggests, inclusive benefits serve more people than traditional benefits which exclude certain groups of people. 

If we take parental leave as an example, an exclusive strategy would not support families choosing to adopt. An inclusive alternative would provide leave for any employee growing their families in any way. 

18 types of inclusive benefits

There are limitless ways to get creative and support more people with your inclusion efforts. Use the below ideas as a starting point: 

Health insurance 

Inclusive health insurance is a top priority for employees who want to protect themselves, their families, and loved ones in the event of illness or injury. Inclusive coverage should extend to LGBTQIA dependents, partners who choose not to marry, and individuals who seek specific healthcare benefits like fertility treatments or gender confirmation surgery. Consider offering the following to employees and their dependents: 

Health saving accounts (HSAs) 

HSAs provide employees with tax-advantaged savings accounts to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. They’re flexible compared to traditional healthcare plans and are an excellent way to support diverse families’ unique needs. Employers may choose to match a percentage of employee contributions, making HSAs even more accessible for employees with lower incomes or larger families. 

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)

FSAs are another tax-advantaged benefit account that employees use to pay for various expenses, including medical costs, dependent care, and transportation. Again, they allow employees to set aside pre-tax dollars from their paycheck, which reduces their taxable income and boosts their take-home pay.

Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) 

HRAs are entirely employer-funded accounts. In this model, employees choose from various eligible expense categories, and employers reimburse them for the cost. 

Personalized wellness 

To supplement a healthy lifestyle, employers can deliver wellness benefits that can be tailored to their specific needs. Try offering: 

Wellness stipends 

Wellness stipends are a set amount employers pay to employees regularly, for example, monthly or quarterly. Employees then choose how to spend their stipend on acceptable expenses, including: 

  • Mental health support such as counseling or therapy 
  • Substance abuse treatment
  • Meditation apps and mindfulness programs
  • Stress management courses
  • Spa treatments 
  • Personal training sessions 
  • Nutrition counseling 

Wellbeing memberships 

Similarly, you can offer wellbeing memberships providing access to various health and wellness services. Employees might choose from a range of options, such as:

Flexible work arrangements 

Requiring employees to stick to a rigid 9 to 5 routine can exclude some people from the workforce entirely. Working parents, people with physical disabilities, mental health conditions, neurodivergent employees, and menopausal women are just a few examples of people who could benefit from having more freedom over the hours they work and the leave they take. Here are some ways to make your schedule more inclusive: 

Flexible hours 

Allowing employees to start and end their workday at different times increases productivity, job satisfaction, and mental wellbeing. It also allows employees with other obligations, such as caring for a child or elderly parent to structure their hours in some of the following different ways:

  • Allowing employees to come in earlier or later than the standard 9 to 5
  • Giving employees total freedom over when they work, so long as they complete their tasks and are available for meetings during core business hours 
  • Implementing a compressed work-week, where employees work longer hours over fewer days
  • Offering a job-sharing arrangement, where two part-time employees share one full-time role 

Hybrid and work-from-home 

With an internet connection and a home office space, employees in many industries can be just as productive working remotely or in a hybrid capacity as in the office. Employees have strong feelings about the ability to work remotely, with 40% of people stating they’d rather clean their toilet than return to the office full-time. Allowing employees to work from home or in a hybrid model caters to their individual needs and preferences, such as:

  • Avoiding long commutes
  • Eliminating distractions 
  • Nurturing a better work-life balance 
  • Caring for their dependents 
  • Supporting their mental and physical health conditions 

Floating holidays 

Floating holidays are a set number of days employees use on top of their regular vacation time. They allow employees to take time off for religious or cultural holidays that the company’s official holiday schedule may not recognize. 

Unlimited PTO 

Another option is to offer unlimited paid time off, allowing employees to book days off at any time without explaining what they’re for. Along with the powerful restorative benefits of taking a vacation, some employees might use their PTO to cover unplanned days, such as their childcare falling through or sudden healthcare appointments. In this way, PTO alleviates stress and anxiety for anyone torn between work and home. 

Family and childcare 

Modern employers recognize that families take many forms, from single parents and stepchildren to foster families and adopted siblings. The one thing they all have in common? Families could all benefit from some financial, logistical, and healthcare support. Here are some family planning and childcare benefits you could offer: 

Family forming benefits 

Fertility benefits support employees with the costs of assisted reproductive treatments such as IVF, artificial insemination, egg sharing, and mental health services that go alongside these. However, broader family forming benefits packages encompass: 

  • Adoption benefits 
  • Surrogacy benefits 
  • Egg freezing coverage
  • Donor and egg sharing services 
  • Fostering support

Parental leave 

Families thrive when parents take an active role in caring for their children, regardless of gender or biological identity. Employers can make their parental benefits more inclusive by providing leave for: 

  • Birth mothers
  • Adoptive, foster, and surrogate parents 
  • Domestic partners 
  • Parents who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth 

Childcare benefits 

Families with young children have plenty to navigate, from long daycare waiting lists to sky-high costs that cause some working parents to consider leaving the workforce entirely. Support your employees by offering a range of childcare benefits such as: 

  • Subsidized childcare services
  • On-site childcare facilities 
  • Dependent care flexible spending accounts 
  • Backup childcare 

Professional development

Employees must progress in their careers to remain relevant in the current job market. According to LinkedIn data, “helping employees develop in their careers” is the fourth-highest priority for L&D leaders in 2024, jumping five places from ninth position last year. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for professional growth; each employee’s career trajectory is unique and requires different types of support at every stage, including the following: 

Job rotations 

Allowing employees to rotate through different lateral roles within the company can give them a broader understanding of how the organization operates and new skills and perspectives. 

For example, a marketing team member might spend a month in sales to better understand the link between their campaigns and sales conversions. These rotations are valuable in building a diverse and cross-functional workforce, breaking down silos, and fostering collaboration. 

Training and development courses 

Offering training and development courses allows employees to upskill, whether they are learning new technology, soft skills, or industry-specific knowledge. These courses help employees stay competitive and keep progressing in their careers.

Tuition reimbursement 

Many employees want to continue their education while working, but the cost of formal certification paths can be eye-watering. Employers can overcome this challenge by offering tuition reimbursement, a valuable benefit for attracting and retaining top talent. In this model, employers pay back the cost of training to their employees either following course completion or, in some cases, at the point of sale. 

Professional networking and conferences 

Attending conferences and networking events is a great way to mingle with relevant professionals in the industry, ensuring employees are constantly building their connections. Covering the cost of employees attending these events fosters their personal development and brings new ideas and perspectives to the company.

Rewards and recognition 

Workers who receive frequent recognition at work are 137% more likely to feel a sense of community and 131% more likely to experience above-average employee engagement, according to O.C. Tanner’s research. There are multiple ways you can deliver this praise and appreciation to individual employees and teams for their contributions, including the following: 

Public recognition 

Praising someone in front of their peers gives them a sense of pride and also motivates others to want to achieve the same accolade. Public rewards and recognition could include: 

  • Mentioning someone’s accomplishments in an informal team meeting or a company-wide town hall 
  • Publishing their efforts in an internal employee newsletter or on social media
  • Announcing the nominations and winners of a regular Employee of the Month award or similar 
  • Promoting someone on an internal Kudos Wall 

Rewards programs 

While praise can be an excellent motivator in its own right, adding rewards to the message establishes a clear link between working hard and receiving something tangible. Essentially, if your employees receive a reward, they’ll want to replicate that feeling and repeat the pattern again and again. Rewards could include:

  • Monetary bonuses
  • Extra time off 
  • Gift cards or vouchers 
  • Company swag 

Employers may create their own informal program or opt for a formal structure. For example, the Benepass Rewards and Recognition Program enables employers to acknowledge their employees based on career achievements, birthdays, work anniversaries, career milestones, and employee awards. 

How to build an inclusive benefits package

It’s uncomfortable to recognize that your current benefits package excludes people. But by working through the steps below, you can thoughtfully change your approach: 

Assess how inclusive your current benefits are

Look through a lens of inclusivity by benchmarking what your current benefits provide and who you’re offering them to. Identify if there are subsections of your employees who are missing out on crucial support because of their gender, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Here are some examples: 

  • Do you offer commuting benefits to support in-office workers but don’t offer remote working benefits for your distributed team members? 
  • Do you offer PTO off for Christmas but not Eid? 
  • Is parental leave only available for women who have given birth rather than their partners? 

Gather employee feedback  

For a truly inclusive approach, don’t prescribe benefits to your people without asking what they want and need from you. Perhaps you haven’t considered that you’re missing a particular benefit, or you don’t understand the impact on team morale when some employees don’t have enough leave available to celebrate their home nation’s holidays. Understand employee sentiment better by: 

  • Conducting surveys and polls 
  • Holding open forums for discussion 
  • Using a suggestion box or anonymous feedback system

Focus on flexibility 

Overcompensating for the benefits you’ve lacked in the past is tempting, but not the right approach here. Instead of serving up brand-new benefits to underrepresented groups in your workforce, achieve inclusivity by focusing on flexibility: 

A lifestyle spending account is an excellent option for many types of perks and benefits. It allows employers to offer set funds for employees to spend in whatever way makes the most sense to them. For example, employers may pay $150 a month into each employee’s account, which they can put toward their top priorities, such as wellness, commuting, childcare, or professional development. It’s flexible, inclusive, and a great way to engage and retain your staff. 

Here are three ways that employees use their inclusive Benepass LSA to accommodate their personal needs: 

  • Jackie, 32, from Austin, uses her LSA to subsidize her child’s daycare. She works from the office Monday through Wednesday while her son is in daycare.
  • Joe, 25, from Chicago, uses his LSA on his Equinox membership. He takes fitness classes twice weekly and works out with a personal trainer. 
  • Daphne, 35, from Paris, pays for a Talkspace subscription with her LSA, which enables her to meet with a therapist once a week. 

Offer inclusive benefits with Benepass

Benepass is a people-first platform that makes it easy to roll out generous benefits offerings to every member of your diverse workforce. Whatever your mix of pre-tax or post-tax benefits, the process of connecting to Benepass is straightforward: 

  1. You’ll build your inclusive benefits package. For example, if you’re building an LSA, you might choose key lifestyle pillars like wellness, mental health, family and childcare, career development, etc.
  2. We’ll code your policy template and issue Benepass cards to your employees. 
  3. We’ll connect to your payroll system to automate enrollment to your inclusive benefits. 
  4. Your employees will elect their contributions (for pre-tax programs only). 
  5. You’ll join our Benepass platform and spread the word about your new inclusive benefits program. 

Ready to design a highly inclusive workplace that welcomes and supports every team member? Book a free Benepass demo to see our platform in action, or contact sales@getbenepass.com to connect with a benefits specialist.  

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Rebecca Noori

Rebecca Noori is a freelance HR Tech and SaaS writer who is obsessed with our world of work. She writes about everything from employee benefits and performance management to upskilling and productivity tips. When she's not writing, you'll find her grappling with phonics homework and football kits, looking after her three kids.

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