Fertility benefits becoming hot retention tool for employers
A roughly 10% spike in employer-offered fertility benefits is expected in the next two years as more companies evaluate and prioritize family-friendly benefits in an effort to attract and retain top talent.
New research out by Willis Towers Watson reveals the percentage of employers offering fertility benefits to employees is expected to grow from 55% in 2017 to 66% by 2019. And, of employers already offering financial assistance, 81% said the benefits would apply to same-sex couples next year, compared with 65% in 2017.
“Employers are evolving their healthcare programs to reflect that fertility benefits are becoming more important to many employees, including same-sex couples,” says Jeff Levin-Scherz, North American co-leader, health management practice at Willis Towers Watson. “The additional coverage is often a win-win proposition. It allows employers to provide a valued employee benefit while improving their ability to attract and retain top talent and support diversity initiatives.”
A number of employers have added or increased fertility benefits in the last year. State Street just announced $20,000 in reimbursement for expenses related to certain fertility expenses, such as surrogacy, beyond what is offered through the firm’s medical plans. American Express bumped its fertility coverage from $20,000 to $35,000 last year while Pinterest increased its fertility coverage from $5,000 to $20,000.
Meanwhile, Willis Towers Watson recently announced its plan to partner with digital-first vendors Ovia Health and Progyny on a new package of family and fertility benefits that educate employees on various stages in pregnancy and walk workers through the planning, pregnancy and early child caring stages.
As employers boost benefits, they also are coming up with innovative solutions to personalize the benefits. For example, 21% of employers surveyed by Willis Towers Watson offer an app-based mobile phone fertility or maternity program, with 16% offering it through the health plan and 5% through other vendors.
Fertility benefits are among the family-friendly benefits employers have their eyes on. Paid leave is another big initiative for firms. Big names like Walmart, Cisco and TIAA have beefed up paid leave policies, and research suggests more will do so.
According to Willis Towers Watson, just over half of employers offer paid leave to both mothers and fathers. But by 2019, Willis Towers Watson finds, those numbers could rise to as much as 75% for fathers and 80% for mothers. Along with padding PTO policies, employers aim include supporting parents via flexible work locations or schedules (offered by 61% of employers surveyed), offering additional unpaid leave (34%), parent support groups (15%), coaching and returning to work after parental leave (13%), overnight breast milk delivery for mothers who travel for work (9%) and concierge services for new parents (7%).
Further, employers are also beginning to support part-time workers with maternity and child care benefits, including unpaid leave (52%), adoption or surrogacy stipends (34%) and childcare support (23%).