Benefits professionals understand better than most people how important it is to keep up with the times. Employee expectations are constantly evolving, and a benefit seen as niche (or even unheard-of) may become a necessity if companies hope to attract and retain the best talent. Just three years ago, telecommuting was seen as a luxury for most employees, but after COVID, many individuals aren’t willing to go back to a full-time in-person mode of work.

This is especially true in the case of fertility treatment. Once seen as a private matter — and even stigmatized in the workplace — support to help employees conceive and bear children was not seen as a benefit that employers should be obligated to provide. Not only did many companies not fully understand their obligation to help their workers grow their families, but benefits professionals worried that requiring such coverage would drive up the costs of health insurance for employees with need for support.

Even as some workplaces began offering fertility coverage, these benefits were only extended to married female employees or the wives of male employees. Aid was often not available to single mothers, single fathers, queer couples, or others outside the so-called “mainstream” family structure. Yet without access to the same benefits as everyone else, talented workers in these categories will prove difficult to retain.

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