· Features

Hot topic: Fertility benefits

Nearly a third (31%) of employees would like to see employers fund fertility treatments such as IVF and egg freezing, according to research from Willis Towers Watson

However, offering these benefits can be challenging and expensive, so should businesses consider rolling them out? Or do the ethical and financial implications make this too big a risk?

Aliya Vigor-Robertson, founding partner of JourneyHR, says:

"If employee mental and physical wellbeing are at risk then a forward-looking business will take responsibility for assisting in any way it can to make sure staff are well cared for. So if fertility has an impact on the employee then it makes sense that it may well be the business of HR.

Women are feeling more empowered than ever to achieve both motherhood and career fulfilment. Both are possible, and for some women corporate assistance with fertility can help on this personal mission.

However, HR needs to be mindful of how this benefit is communicated and ensure no one is pressuring employees to take up the option for the wrong reason. But equally, information about the benefit should be easily accessible and openly discussed to keep any taboo at bay.

Ultimately, if you keep it employee led at all times, lives could be transformed. As with any benefit the right package has to reflect the drives and motivations of employees and establish the right balance between work and personal life."

Runa Magnus, CEO and founder of The Change Makers, says:

"My heart sank when I first heard about fertility benefits. It just seemed to me like another fix created to maintain business as usual. From the moment women entered the workforce they’ve been forced to fit into a box – let’s call it the business-world box – and as we all know, that box was created by men for men.

Women have been continuously trying to fit in; bowing to all sorts of demands to be accepted. They are told they need to be competitive, to ‘lean in’ and demand their space. At the same time women should apparently be cautious, being sure not to expose too much cleavage – heaven forbid women dress in a way that’s too sexy.

Organisations that are brave enough to do things differently can walk away from the gender-box bias and behaviour, and be seen as a sustainable and inclusive brand, creating a culture where both parents and their children thrive. This makes for a really magnetic brand, irresistibly attractive for both the right talent and clients."

Check back tomorrow for part two of this hot topic. This piece appears in the current print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk