Bank of America extends pandemic benefits for caregivers through March
Bank of America is extending pandemic benefits for employees who need child- or adult-care services.
Through the end of the first quarter, workers will be reimbursed $75 or $100 a day to pay caregivers, depending on the employee’s compensation, according to a memo to staff. The second-biggest U.S. bank is also boosting the number of days employees can use backup facilities or in-home care in 2021 to 50 from a previous 40.
Bank of America’s expenses have climbed as its 211,000 employees navigate surging virus cases, unpredictable school arrangements and prospects for a nationwide vaccine rollout. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based firm has spent $300 million to provide 3 million days of care so far this year, and expects another 1 million days to be used in the first quarter, according to chief human resources officer Sheri Bronstein.
“It’s both the right thing to do and the practical thing to do,” Bronstein said in an interview. “If your 5-year-old is running around, it’s impossible to answer the phone to customers or be productive. And we really felt it was a balance of both trying to invest in our teammates and helping them through a very difficult time.”
The company spent about $600 million on measures such as increased cleaning, the provision of personal protective equipment, supplemental and overtime pay, as well as meals and transportation. The extra-benefits programs are being assessed in 90-day increments given the evolving situation, she said.
Here are other takeaways from Bronstein:
- About two-thirds of employees tapping child-care benefits were women. “There’s truth to women opting out of the workplace during the pandemic or leaving for child-care reasons, and I’m really happy to report that our attrition is at a record low,” Bronstein said. “These benefits and the approach we’ve taken have really helped to keep all of our parents working, but men and women in equal amounts.”
- About 75% of staff using the care benefits earn $100,000 or less, she said. That qualifies them for the higher daily reimbursement level. “This is really aimed at our front-facing employees that are serving our customers every day in financial centers and call centers, our operations people — and that’s where the majority of the usage is,” Bronstein said.