As we enter 2024, the landscape of employee benefits is undergoing a transformation that employers can't afford to overlook. The post-COVID era has brought about a heightened awareness of the workforce's diverse needs, prompting HR teams to reevaluate and enhance their offerings. A notable trend on the rise is the demand for fertility benefits, particularly among women seeking support for in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
In a world where IVF is a costly procedure rarely covered by health insurance, some women are taking on second jobs solely for healthcare benefits to fund this essential aspect of family planning. The willingness to go to such lengths underscores the profound personal importance of fertility benefits. This trend signals a significant shift in employee priorities, demanding a closer look from HR teams.
The demand for fertility benefits is growing
Deciding when and how to start a family is a monumental life decision, reflected in the increasing prevalence of fertility treatments. According to the latest research from Pew, 42% of American adults have used or know someone who has used fertility treatments, up from 33% five years ago. Sixty-one percent of Americans (and 64% of women) believe health insurance should cover these treatments.
However, the reality is that costly procedures like IVF often lack benefits coverage from most employers. With a single round of IVF costing between $15,000 and $30,000 out-of-pocket, employees are resorting to extreme measures, such as taking second jobs, to alleviate the financial burden. Among companies not offering fertility benefits, 55% cite concerns about potential increased costs, yet 97% of those providing such benefits report no significant cost increase.
Employees want benefits that meet their unique needs
Employees today are frustrated with conventional benefits that don't align with their unique needs. The successful transition to remote work during the pandemic has permanently altered perceptions of how and where work happens. With 87% of employees opting for remote work when given the opportunity, autonomy and flexibility have become paramount.
HR teams play a pivotal role in identifying essential benefits for each employee and allocating resources to meet the workforce's diverse needs. Offering comprehensive support has proven to yield bottom-line benefits such as increased retention, improved productivity, and the fostering of a healthier workplace culture. Ninety-five percent of knowledge workers express a desire to set their own hours, and three-quarters prioritize employers offering on-demand pay.
The demand for fertility benefits indicates that employees want HR teams to address their needs. Fertility benefits are emerging as a holistic way for HR teams to stand out, becoming a key competitive differentiator in the ongoing battle for talent. Employees willing to take on a second job for fertility benefits underscore the importance of these benefits over traditional offerings like paid time off (PTO).
HR teams need to provide their employees with flexible support
The coverage of IVF, a particularly expensive fertility benefit, has risen from 20% in 2019 to 25% today. Employers cite top reasons for providing fertility benefits, including ensuring access to high-quality, cost-effective care, remaining competitive in talent attraction and retention, and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. And it appears to be working for women seeking out employers just for their fertility benefits.
HR teams can enhance their support by repurposing existing benefits that employees might not fully leverage, such as PTO. Convertible PTO allows employees to redirect the value of unused vacation time toward financial priorities like student loan payments, retirement contributions, and fertility benefits. With 90% of employees stating that convertible benefits would increase their likelihood of staying with an employer, the potential for retaining top talent is evident.
In a time when flexibility is a top priority for employees, HR teams must embrace creativity and holism in supporting their workforce. Flexible benefits, such as fertility benefits, are integral to meeting these evolving expectations and securing a competitive edge in the talent market.
As we navigate the dynamic landscape of employee benefits in 2024, acknowledging and addressing the rising demand for fertility benefits is a strategic move and a reflection of a commitment to employee well-being and satisfaction.
Request a demo of PTO Exchange today to learn how you can offer your employees flexible benefits, such as convertible PTO.
Published on Jan 11, 2024 by Rob Whalen