In 2019, LinkedIn undertook some research into the demand for reproductive health benefits in the UK. 66% of UK employers think that fertility support in the workplace should be considered a statutory right and 82% said their organisation is expecting to enhance their fertility benefits programmes in 2020.
In the same year, a Willis Towers Watson survey found that 33% of UK young workers believe fertility benefits, such as egg freezing and subsidised IVF treatment, should be offered by employers.
But what happens if your employer doesn’t have reproductive healthcare benefits at the top of their agenda? Here are our top tips to starting a conversation with your HR department to give them a nudge in the right direction.
Approaching HR directly
Whilst HR departments will be well aware of industry benefit trends, they may not have an insight into the demand within the organisation that they work for. Benefits exist and really take-off in an organisation when employees buy into what is on offer.
Employees therefore need to make these departments aware that they are interested in family-friendly policy that backs those requiring fertility and reproductive healthcare support. Benefits are demand-led – after all, companies will only want to be investing money in benefit programmes that really make a difference to their employees.
We understand that some people may feel uncomfortable or nervous about speaking to their HR department about such a private topic. It may be that you speak to your manager or a work colleague, who may be able to approach HR on your behalf.
To support you, we have created an e-mail template to help you initiate the conversation. You can download a copy here.
Approaching groups and communities
For larger organisations, an alternative route is to have a chat with those that belong to relevant employee resource groups or networks. These include:
- LGBT+ / Pride networks
- Parenting networks
- Fertility networks
- Women’s networks
- Family or parenting networks
We recommend getting in touch with relevant network committee members to find out whether the matter has been raised before. It will be likely that demand from others in the group may also exist. Making a request as part of a group – rather than tackling HR on your own – will showcase a greater need for the benefit and increase the chance of your HR and benefit teams paying attention.
Approaching a resource group or network will also provide you with a support network in case you wish to speak to others in a similar situation.
The business case
A few quick facts will help frame your discussion – irrespective of who you speak to. Not all HR professionals may be fully aware of the challenges that employees can face when it comes to their reproductive health so these facts will help to demonstrate the number of employees within the workplace that may be impacted:
- Fertility challenges affect 1 in 6 couples in the UK – the equivalent of 3.5 million people
- 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage
- 40% of all fertility problems are due to male factor infertility
- Further to those above, LGBT+ employees also require support to become a parent, either through donor conception or via adoption or surrogacy
- Same sex couples make up 6.4% of all patients having fertility treatment in the UK
Budgetary constraints will usually be a key factor for companies considering the implementation of reproductive health benefits. We recommend mentioning that the option for flexible benefits exists – and providers, such as Fertifa, are often able to provide affordable solutions for those that wish to support their employees.
If your HR department is interested to find out more, we also suggest pointing them to our latest Whitepaper which introduces “An inclusive and cost-effective way to improve employee health and wellbeing”.
Speak to us!
We understand that some employees may not want their employers to know that they are experiencing reproductive health challenges. We are more than happy to have the conversation on your behalf (maintaining confidentiality and anonymity) and can provide a comprehensive business case to compel your company to introduce reproductive healthcare benefits.
Drop us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with information about your company and contact details to start the process. We will never mention your name or any other identifying details to your employer.
Fertifa is the UK’s leading fertility and reproductive health benefits provider that delivers a bespoke, flexible corporate programme for employers of any size, leveraging its in-house telehealth innovation and medical expertise to make fertility care more accessible and affordable for all.
With decades of medical, benefit consulting and HR expertise, Fertifa are on hand to answer your questions. Get in touch today.