One of Britain’s most powerful businesswomen has said companies should include IVF treatment as an employee incentive
Eileen Burbidge, a venture capitalist, who also works as an advisor to the Government on technology, has told the Mail on Sunday that funding IVF is much more important than saving for retirement.
The mother-of-five said she feels IVF treatment is more ‘relevant’ and having the benefit would take the pressure off women to have children at a certain age as they progress in their chosen careers.
Eileen is quoted as saying: “We should think about it just like we do pensions, just like we think about health insurance”
She said pension benefits would not feel ‘real or tangible’ for twentysomethings for 40 more years but reproductive health was something that is relevant in their 20s.
She said: “It is really relevant again in your 40s if you are still thinking about fertility assistance or if you are starting to think about menopause. It is far more relevant, I would say, than pension benefits.”
A recent survey on whether young workers suggested they want fertility benefits offered by their employers.
Research carried out by Willis Towers Watson found 47 percent of these millennials and post-millennials cited the high cost of private treatment as the biggest reason for this.
Forty-three percent said they were concerned about restricted NHS treatment, 26 percent believed it would offer improved career opportunities while 24 percent said it would reduce the time the pressures of having children too quickly.
Willis Towers Watson’s wellbeing lead, Mike Blake, said: “Increasing numbers of employers across the US are now supporting employees on their path to parenthood, as highlighted by the Willis Towers Watson Maternity, Family and Fertility Survey.
“Their counterparts in the UK should consider the recruitment and retention benefits of following their lead.
“One in seven UK couples face difficulties trying to conceive, yet restrictions in NHS funded treatments have been widely reported in recent years, with postcode variations in access to services. Furthermore, the cost of private fertility treatments can be a significant financial burden, and in some cases, may even prove prohibitive.”
Several global companies have added fertility treatment to their employee benefits in recent years, including banking firm Goldman Sachs, which now offers their staff IVF, egg donation and egg retrieval.
US companies that offer fertility employee benefits in the UK include Apple, Facebook and LinkedIn
Coffee giants, Starbucks has long been an advocate of assisted reproductive technology as an employee benefit.
The coffee chain has recently included surrogacy and intrauterine insemination in its benefits reimbursement scheme, in which employees can claim back funds if not covered by their health insurance.
Employees can receive a $10,000 reimbursement from Starbucks per qualifying surrogacy event and up to a lifetime maximum of $30,000.
The company has also upped its lifetime maximum reimbursements for other fertility treatments under its medical plans, which include a jump from $15,000 to $25,000 and $5,000 to $10,000 for prescription drugs.
The benefits are available for all full and part-time employees who work more than 20 hours a week.
Does your company offer any form of fertility treatment as an employee incentive? We’d love to hear how your company helped you to achieve your dream of becoming a parent.
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