How to request a new benefit from your employer

Think your company should be offering a family benefit? Let them know. We share step-by-step guidance, complete with data and talking points.

Employers who want to attract and keep the best talent understand the importance of offering benefits their employees most want, need, and will actually use. Direct feedback and input from a valued employee like yourself should be welcomed and useful when it comes time to evaluate and make changes to their benefits package.

Your guide to making the case for a holistic family benefit

It’s intimidating to ask for what you need. At work and in life. We get it. But it also comes highly recommended. As the saying goes: If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.

1. Get the ball rolling

Overcoming inertia is always the hardest part. And it’s easy to let bureaucratic confusion get in the way. So start small, with a quick, friendly note to your Benefits or HR team with a simple inquiry: “Are there any forums within [Company X] to provide feedback or input on our available benefits? Do we have any employee resource groups or working committees I can connect with to discuss?”

2. Gather allies

You can make a strong case for family benefits, but you’ll make it even stronger when you’re backed by a chorus. A Parent ERG* can be a great vehicle for building support behind and elevating the need for family benefits. And beyond other current and future parents, those committed to diversity, equity and inclusion can also be great points of connection. Supporting working parents supports their goals as well.

*What’s an ERG? Employee Resource Groups are voluntary, employee-led groups whose aim is to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with company goals and values. They are typically organized around a shared characteristic or affinity such as gender, ethnicity, or our favorite, being a parent. They may go by different names—Employee Networks, Affinity Groups—and vary in the degree to which they’re operationalized, but they are fairly common. According to TopMBA, ERGs are found in 90% of Fortune 500 companies, so there’s a good chance of having something at your disposal.

3. Know the facts

Whether you’re collaborating with others to present a formal case, or having a more informal and direct conversation with someone in HR, you’ll want to have some data and talking points prepared.

The good news is a lot of the homework has already been done. The following outlines key talking points with supporting data ready to tailor to your needs.

Working families have changed, while benefits haven’t

Women are waiting longer to have children, families are pursuing new and different paths to parenthood, and the number of single parents has gone up. The traditional benefits paradigm simply hasn’t kept up; it’s a relic of mid-century design, built around the needs of a workforce much different than today’s. The last major benefits innovation was child care, in the 1980s. And it’s still only available to a fifth of working families despite being their most requested benefit.1

The costs of not keeping up with parents’ needs will only go up

  • 1 in 5 dollars spent on healthcare goes toward services for birthing parents and children.2
  • 40% of U.S. parents typically are not in the labor force 12 months after the birth of a child.3
  • A holistic family benefit that improves parental health, and engagement with work is a path to bringing increased health care and attrition costs down.


A holistic family benefit supports diversity and inclusion

LGBTQ+, divorced, and single parents all feel less supported at work than their partnered, heterosexual peers.1 Every family is unique. Employers able to provide a flexible, holistic solution to supporting working families can attract the best talent while keeping up with their varied and evolving needs.

Yesterday’s benefits don’t meet today’s parents’ needs. That’s why 47% of employers plan to expand or add support for parents as part of their employee benefits.4 Now is the time to join top employers, and invest in working families.

4. Personalize your pitch

Draw on your own, and others’ lived experiences balancing career and family. What has left you floundering, stretched too thin, or simply overwhelmed? Was it a difficult path to parenthood? Did you have no idea how to return to work with a baby keeping you up half the night? Have you struggled with consistent and reliable child care?

We’ve been there, and chances are many of your colleagues have too. Data may make your case, but when you speak from personal experience, it makes it real. A family benefit is the added layer of support we all need to get through these moments healthier, and in one piece, to be more successful at home, and at work.

We’re here for you, and we’ll be rooting for you.

Cleo is offered to working parents and their partners through employers for free. We support birthing parents, partners, adoptive parents, surrogate parents, foster parents, same-sex parents, and single parents from family planning through the parenting of children up to age 18. To find out if you’re eligible, check with your employer.

Learn more about how we’re helping working families thrive.

Just like our neighbors, you feel like our chosen family. The support of Cleo and you as our Guide has been amazing and you know I just love all the tips and content. My partner and I are literally in tears. The best gift!

Parent & Cleo Member

1Cleo NOW+ Survey of Working Parents
2PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, “Actuarial Analysis of the National Business Group on Health’s Maternal and Child Health Plan Benefit Model,” August 2007.
3US Census Bureau 2017 American Community Survey
4Care.Com The Future Of Benefits 2021 Report