Life’s complicated - and mapping the parenting journey is one of life’s biggest challenges. When you throw the post pandemic work environment into the mix, it can feel overwhelming. We get it - so we’ve reviewed best practices and policies at progressive employers which support the life as a working parent.
For employees, you can quickly see where the best place to develop your career is. For employers, you can see what improvements you can make to get your recruitment and retention to best in class.
Policy on your mind? Have a look to see how the Woman's Health Strategy is supporting women's sexual and reproductive health
Let’s start at the very beginning: planning, fertility and conception.
What are the challenges (for working or expecting) parents?
Life has many challenges, and juggling a career with starting a family is one of the pinch points for many families. When you’re in this situation, how do you negotiate leave for medical appointments, judge when the best time to start your family is, and what, if any benefits are available to the (hopefully) parents to be?
Today, 6 out of 10 women are delaying having families so that they can advance their careers pre-family, and to create a financial cushion. Finding a partner who is supportive of both your career and can be an equal partner in bringing up your children, can also create delay. Of course, we all know that fertility can decrease over time. And some parents struggle to conceive naturally even without time constraints.
So what's the challenge for employees who are hopeful parents? Studies have shown that:
- Fertility issues impact wellbeing, engagement and productivity at work.
- Treatments are expensive, time consuming and energy draining.
- Partners can be equally impacted (though they are often ignored).
There are many other ways of raising a family, but if you don’t fit the ‘norm’, it can also take time and money to establish your future family. Many hopeful parents, including LBGTQ+ and single parents will also explore surrogacy and adoption as a route to parenthood. The pandemic has made waiting times for treatments and other options, much worse.
What are the industry standards and recent trends?
In the US, it’s reported that only 19% of employers offer an IVF benefit, while just 18% of organizations offer fertility care benefits other than IVF. Whilst most global firms will try to offer similar benefits across territories, the existence of the NHS and the different regional approaches that some NHS Trusts take to IVF treatment, we are likely to see a growth in this area of benefits in the UK.
Employers have started to offer financial assistance and other support for treatments, including help with delayed parenthood, for example egg freezing.
The trend started with global tech firms such as Apple, Google, Salesforce and Lyft. Now, several Fortune 100 companies in the US — such as ExxonMobil, AT&T, Procter and Gamble, Liberty Mutual, Tyson Foods, Northwestern Mutual, General Mills and Geico - offer similar levels of support. Other employers offer tele-support, such as online or phone based advice and consultations.
These companies will collaborate with fertility professionals such as Peppy, Carrot, Fertifa and Progyny. Aside from Peppy, these are all fertility benefit providers, partnering with companies to provide their employees with expert advice and professional treatments. Peppy provides support and guidance for those going through one of the family life stages, and access to on demand virtual consultations. In the US, this will often come through health insurance packages, while in the UK it can be a direct route to the third party provider, through the workplace.
What are progressive employers doing to help?
There has been huge progress in the UK (especially in the last 6 months) in terms of what is offered to parents-to-be. Fertility-based benefits are increasingly expected within employment packages, with up to 68% of employees indicating that they would switch jobs to get fertility benefits. myTamarin has researched fertility benefits in the UK and has found that the following employers offer best in class benefits for all those who wish to start a family:
This ranges from paid for fertility treatments like egg freezing, in-vitro fertilization, to some companies even paying for adoption and surrogacy. Companies like Natwest, LinkedIn, Centrica, Clifford Chance and Cooley offer fertility benefit packages worth up to £45k per person.
Companies are also providing a combination of paid leave and support, in the form of counselling or signposting to third party providers. Amongst these are ASOS, Home Instead, Shoosmith and PWC.
Many, such as Nationwide Building Society, offer lighter touch support such as education, community and content based support.
This is not a conclusive list of companies who offer fertility benefits, but ones which we wanted to highlight. Especially as more and more UK companies are introducing parenting focused benefits everyday (M&S, Co-op, Zego, Channel 4, Bloom & Wild, Kingsley Napley… and the list goes on).
Stay tuned for upcoming blogs on the other life stages, and how (and why) employers should consider parenting benefits to boost their workforce.
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