Open enrollment season may be over, but many benefits will be coming into sharper focus as we enter the new year—specifically, fertility and family planning benefits. This hot topic has become increasingly important as more men and women have become comfortable speaking out about their journeys to parenthood.
A recent EBN article featured new research that underscored the extent to which benefits managers should consider revising or creating fertility and family planning benefits in 2022. According to Kinbody, researchers found that nearly 70% of millennials would change jobs to ensure fertility coverage.
Currently, a mere 6% of employers nationwide offer any childcare benefits. What’s more, just 19% of employers nationwide offer stipends for egg freezing, while 24% of companies offer coverage for pricey fertility services like IVF. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, infertility impacts about 10% to 15% of couples in the U.S.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 28% of women with a child under the age of 18 left the workforce. In an effort to win back those women and adjust outdated parental leave policies and benefits offerings that fail to include same-sex couples and men, more and more employers are adapting to better meet employee needs. Similarly, employers are also considering how best to embed more flexibility into their culture to create more welcoming cultures for working parents and parents-to-be.
Electing to offer family planning and fertility benefits is a savvy recruitment and retention tool for employers to consider as we enter the new year. So, how can companies provide these benefits in a meaningful way? Read on to find out.
1. Prioritize inclusivity.
Design a fertility and family benefit plan that not only meets the needs of heterosexual couples, but also same-sex couples and single employees. Fertility benefits can be tremendously impactful for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC employees, who face medical discrimination and sometimes poor health outcomes when discussing fertility and sexual health. Inclusive fertility benefits must be acknowledged and valued regardless of an employee’s gender identity or relationship status.
2. Increase policy limits.
The bottom line is that the journey to parenthood is expensive; if one’s journey becomes more complex, then the costs for some hopeful parents could prove insurmountable. That’s why many employers offer some form of financial assistance to cover expenses, such as medical costs, legal fees, or extended PTO for employees researching adoption, surrogacy, or IVF.
For some companies, offering fertility benefits means covering anywhere from $15,000-$30,000 per IVF cycle or possibly more for employees who adopt or choose surrogacy. What’s more, fertility benefits could resemble covering $8,000 to $10,000, plus medication and coverage, for those interested in egg-freezing.
Although the expense is considerable, many employers are willing to accept the upfront cost and secure their employee’s long-term loyalty to the company. What’s more, depending on what competing companies offer, the decision not to provide some form of fertility or family planning benefits could drive prospective or current talent elsewhere. Also, the rising cost of prescription drugs will likely increase the cost of fertility treatments, pushing policy limits higher in 2022.
3. Provide workplace flexibility.
Just as the nation’s demand for fertility benefits continues to expand, so should your company’s offerings. Supporting your employees on their journey to parenthood is step one. However, you must also be supportive after baby and proactively work toward creating a flexible environment that’s conscious of the needs of working parents. Although this will vary based on your core industry and company size, employers and managers must communicate and consistently demonstrate their support to employees and team members.