Guest blog by Juli Insinger, Co-founder, Carrot
As an HR leader, you’ve likely noticed the growing demand for fertility benefits in the workplace. You’re not alone in that observation — the numbers tell a similar story. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, about one-third of companies with 500 or more employees now provide some sort of fertility benefit. That’s up from 24% in 2016.
Whether you’re contemplating the possibility or have already received employee requests to introduce fertility benefits at your organization, you may be wondering: how can I get our Chief Financial Officer (CFO), whose responsibility it is to manage costs, on board with this idea? Believe it or not, fertility benefits actually have the potential to save your company money. Below are key points to bring up in conversations with your CFO about how fertility benefits can be advantageous to your organization.
Control healthcare costs
When thinking about company finances, it’s important to look at potential long-term effects — not just upfront costs. Many people associate in vitro fertilization (IVF) with twins, triplets, and more due to the fact that, given the high cost of fertility treatments, those paying out-of-pocket may opt for the implantation of multiple embryos.
However, by trying to save on another implantation procedure, this may be harmful for the birth mother and increases the risk of the child ending up in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This cost often ultimately falls on the employer since NICU services are usually covered by health plans.
However, if an employer offers fertility benefits, this relieves some of the burden on employees and may lessen their willingness to transfer multiple embryos at the same time. Reputable clinics typically have a policy of transferring only one embryo at a time — not to mention that the right fertility benefits vendor will help educate employees about the safest way to approach their treatments to ensure they have a smooth journey.
Boost employee productivity
Dealing with fertility-related issues can be extremely stressful for employees, and it can negatively impact their work performance as a result. For instance, employers may want to consider how the costs of fertility treatments affect employees’ long-term finances when those services aren’t covered by a health plan.
A 2018 survey by Student Loan Hero found that, among 776 people who plan to undergo some type of fertility treatment in the next 12 months, 40% reported feeling stressed about the cost of the treatment. Given that financial stress frequently leads to chronic health disorders and high absenteeism, it goes without saying that this would negatively impact productivity.
On the other hand, 22% of employees who did have their IVF covered by their employer said they’re more likely to work harder. Not only does helping your employees cover the cost of treatments relieve some financial burden, but it also inspires feelings of loyalty toward your organization and motivates employees to work harder.
Bolster recruiting efforts
Today’s job market is candidate-driven, which means that employees have options and can be selective about which company they work for. That’s why it’s important for employers to offer a competitive package that stands out from other offerings. Fertility benefits are a great way to achieve this, especially since Millennials — who comprise the largest portion of the U.S. labor force — prioritize benefits over pay and have reached the age where they’re thinking about starting a family.
In addition, offering gestational carrier and adoption services demonstrates to potential candidates that you have an inclusive culture and give everyone, regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, the equal opportunity to start a family.
Given this, fertility benefits are a great tool to fill your talent pipeline with quality candidates. This can save your organization a significant amount of time and money — a report by LinkedIn found that only 30% of companies are able to fill a vacant role within 30 days, and the other 70% of companies are taking anywhere between one to four months to process a new hire. This is likely one of many reasons why we’ve seen several high-profile employers, including Foursquare, Pinterest, InVision, and American Express, introduce or increase their fertility benefits coverage.
Improve employee retention with fertility benefits
In addition to bringing more high-quality employees into your organization, fertility benefits can inspire your employees to stay longer. Research from FertilityIQ found that 62% of employees who had their IVF covered by their employer reported being more likely to remain in their job for a longer period. Similarly, employees who work at companies with adoption benefits, regardless of whether or not they’re users, often feel more goodwill toward their employers.
On the flip side, employees are also likely to leave an organization that doesn’t offer them the benefits they want: more than 50% of employees have reported leaving their jobs after finding better benefits elsewhere.
Why does this matter? If you take a look at the data, it costs employers an average of 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement if they leave. This means that if a mid-level employee who was paid an annual salary of $100,000 decides to leave your company to join another that offered better benefits, it would cost you $33,000 to replace that individual. By reducing the turnover rate at your organization, you could potentially save thousands of dollars as a result.
We believe most companies have the ability to provide at least partial financial coverage and support for fertility care. Not only will it drastically improve your employees’ lives, but it will also help your organization with recruiting, retention, productivity, and healthcare cost management efforts. With the key points we outlined above, you’ll be able to make a strong case to your CFO and the rest of the leadership team to introduce fertility benefits to your company.
If you’re interested in learning more about Carrot’s comprehensive fertility benefits offerings, let us know.
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