Is infertility a taboo topic in your workplace? It is for many employees and employers. According to one study, 47 percent of employees with infertility are not open about it in the workplace. The problem exists that employees with infertility that do not feel supported may end up quitting, actively looking for another job or staying even though they are unhappy.
How can you help? Here are 8 ways to support your employees who are infertile:
1) Explain the company fertility benefit plan to all employees.
Many employees do not realize they have fertility benefits until they make an appointment at a fertility clinic. That’s why it is extremely helpful to open communication by explaining your fertility benefit plan to your employees. Going over the policy, line by line, will help infertile employees feel supported. If you need to boost your policy’s offerings, sit with your representative and increase the plan.
2) Gather the group of employees together.
If you have a large company, figure out the logistics so you can talk with groups of employees at one time. Ask human resources to supply you with extra people who are knowledgeable enough about the fertility benefit plan to help answer questions. Offer handouts that explain certain terms, along with the fertility benefit brochure. Highlight the benefit plan number to call for more information.
3) Let employees ask questions about the benefit plan.
It’s important for employers and employees to understand terms such as:
- Advanced Reproductive Technology (ART)
- Donor sperm/egg
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Ovarian boosting drugs
Employees with infertility can learn more about these offerings to see what might be useful in their situation.
4) Talk about paid/unpaid medical leave.
Provide your employees with a list of fertility-related appointments and treatments that qualify for paid medical leave. To boost retention, treat fertility treatments just as you would other medical treatments to determine if the leave is paid or unpaid.
5) Show empathy to employees.
Try to be empathetic as you talk about miscarriage, in vitro fertilization and surgical procedures for infertility. Many times, women need a few days off after a procedure to recover physically and emotionally. Determine how missed time may be made up or allow workers to telecommute during these times.
6) Discuss discounted services to ease stress.
Sign up for a corporate discount programs for stress management, acupuncture, massage or other alternative therapies. Have a massage therapist come to the office one day a week to give relaxing shoulder massages.
7) Provide flex time to employees.
Offer flex time to employees as they undergo fertility treatments. Flex time allows them to work from home afternoons after medication injections or a fertility procedure or come in late after doctor’s appointments. If lab work or ultrasounds are done early in the morning, trust your employee to make up the missed work later in the day.
8) Invite a FertilityCoach Nurse to talk to employees.
WINFertility has licensed and experienced FertilityCoach Nurses who can talk with employees undergoing fertility treatments or considering fertility treatments. These coaches can explain the available treatments, give tips on how to reach their goal faster and make suggestions on coping with the emotional strain of infertility in the workplace.
Not one of your employees chose to be infertile. In fact, many are infertile because they chose to postpone having a family to focus on higher education and career skills. Employers can help these employees by providing substantial fertility benefits and offering the best emotional support possible as they chart their course to start a family.