Fertility Benefits Help Attract Young Talent
Fertility benefits are an emerging trend in the workplace and one that employers should pay attention to. Like student loan repayment assistance benefits, which were dubbed the “hottest employee benefit of 2018” by Forbes, fertility benefits are now catching on and being offered by growing numbers of companies, including Starbucks, Liberty Mutual, Slack, Foursquare, Box and Samsara. And employees desire and value fertility benefits, making them an attractive recruiting and retention tool for employers.
Indeed, fertility benefits have joined the ranks of highly coveted employee benefits such as unlimited paid time off and on-site gyms as a way for employers to attract top talent to their ranks. According to a recent article from career site the muse, the need for employers to offer fertility benefits coverage is on the rise: “The use of assisted reproductive technology (or ART, a blanket term that covers in vitro fertilization, the use of donor eggs to conceive, and gestational surrogacy) doubled between 2007 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 11.9% of women have received any infertility services — which includes non-ART treatments, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and drug therapy — in their lifetimes. Not to mention, 63% of LGBTQ people planning families expect to use ART, foster care, or adoption to become parents. Considering that fertility interventions often total tens of thousands of dollars, it’s not difficult to see the appeal of an employer who’s willing to help foot the bill.”
Employee Benefit News called fertility benefits a potential “game-changer for employers.” Citing a study from fertility startup Future Family, EBN noted that 64% of women making less than $50,000 per year would switch jobs for better fertility benefits. Moreover, 67% of women making between $75,000 and $99,999, and 52% of those making more than $150,000 would also change jobs for fertility benefits.
According to EBN, fertility benefits have experienced a sea change in the past few years. Some companies’ fertility benefits have included offerings like in vitro fertilization (IVF) as part of their health plan for years. However, growing numbers of employers are offering newer fertility benefits, such as surrogacy reimbursement and egg freezing, as well as expanding their existing coverage. EBN broke down the data, from the National Business Group on Health:
87% of employers cover some fertility benefits through their health plan
Of that group:
71% offer IVF
69% offer artificial insemination
34% cover egg freezing
84% cover evaluation by a specialist
81% cover medication to treat the cause of infertility
Just under half offer surrogacy benefits
The primary reason employers decide to expand their fertility benefits? To attract and retain a talented workforce, of course. Fertility benefits are particularly attractive to millennials and younger generations and are a big motivator for millennials when it comes to choosing, and choosing to stay with, an employer. Employers are also offering fertility benefits increasingly for health reasons. For example, having access to the highest-quality fertility benefits providers increases the likelihood that employees won’t have multiple births, for example, which sometimes have greater complications, resulting in delays in employees returning to work.
In addition, fertility benefits also have financial benefits for employees and their families. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the average IVF cycle costs $12,000. Employers who offer fertility benefits can help ease that burden. It also helps reduce financial stress, which research has shown can have positive outcomes on employees’ productivity and focus in the workplace. According to EBN, “… to create a benefits program that can maximize outcomes from employees, companies need to combine financial incentives with appropriate clinical and emotional support.”
There’s another benefit to offering fertility benefits that the article didn’t touch on: by offsetting the cost of fertility treatments with employer money, employees may potentially be able to set aside additional funds for retirement. In other words, instead of sinking thousands into treatments, employees can instead leverage employer-sponsored fertility benefits to help them pay for the coverage they need, thus enabling them to save more for the future. It is not clear whether employees could or would be able to take advantage of fertility benefits to bulk up their retirement savings, but the potential is there.
Fertility benefits are a compelling opportunity for employers to attract and retain top talent, especially among younger generations. For employers who don’t offer fertility benefits, it may be time to consider doing so. For those who do, it’s a good time to review your fertility benefits to make certain they are competitive with those offered by your peers.