Survey: NC Employers Offer More Family-Friendly Benefits as a Result of COVID-19

Factory woman worker or technician with hygienic mask stand with confident action with her co-worker as background.

As we approach Labor Day, North Carolina employers in a variety of industries across the state say they’re proactively changing their workplace benefits to enhance flexibility and add more paid leave and health insurance for employees because of COVID-19.

Capital Associated Industries (CAI)—a human resources professional association composed of businesses from across industries—partnered with the Family Forward NC to conduct a survey of its North Carolina members to understand changes made to workplace benefits due to COVID-19. The survey, conducted in July 2020 with 359 employers responding, asked about changes made to family-friendly workplace policies such as paid leave, flexibility and child care support, because of COVID-19, along with plans for future changes. Respondents represented a wide range of industries.

  • 67% of all NC employers say they are proactively changing workplace benefits and see value in enhanced flexibility, more health insurance, and increased paid leave.
  • Nearly one third (30.2%) of employers have added additional paid sick leave or a new paid family leave policy.
  • More than half of employers are already offering or are considering offering flexible work hours.
  • 17.6% of employers have enhanced medical coverage or added telehealth coverage for their employees.

Top reasons why North Carolina employers are making their workplaces more family-friendly:

to be more proactive
to retain employees
to strengthen their businesses

  • 1 in 4 survey respondents in the leisure and hospitality industry say they’ve added paid family leave, paid sick or safe leave or paid family and medical leave.
  • In durable goods manufacturing, just over 27% of employers have added paid family leave, paid sick leave or paid family and medical leave.


  • 70% of parents in the U.S. with children under 14 do not have an available caretaker, or adult who works less than half time, in their home, according to the Brookings Institution.
  • 84% of Black mothers in the U.S. are their family’s breadwinner or co-breadwinner, and women of color are disproportionately affected by all aspects of COVID-19, including the need for child care.
  • Only 3.4% of overall employers who responded to the CAI survey say they’ve increased or are planning to increase child care benefits in response to COVID-19.
  • Moderate increases in child care benefits were seen among the non-durable goods manufacturing (8.9%) and the employers with 200-499 employees (9.3%).

For the full survey results, click here and a summary is here.

Thank you to Capital Associated Industries for partnering on this survey, and thank you to our special advisor Nina Smith, associate professor of human sciences at North Carolina Central University, for interpreting the results and co-authoring this piece.