Benefits

Some employers are expanding reproductive health benefits to stay competitive

Period, menopause leave are the latest reproductive health benefits to gain traction.
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· 3 min read

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As more companies provide employees with reproductive support to compete in a tight labor market, some are going beyond just stocking restrooms with the good tampons—they’re expanding health benefits like paid period leave and financial assistance for fertility treatments.

Research from the nonprofit Bloody Good Period found that 89% of people who menstruate “have experienced anxiety or stress in the workplace due to their period,” and a 2022 survey from menopause-focused wellness company Elektra Health found that one in three US women surveyed said that menopause negatively impacted their work performance.

Benefits, with or without flow. HR Brew reported earlier this year that premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, could be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some companies, including menstrual cup maker Diva and astrology app Chani, offer paid menstrual leave. Other period-specific benefits can include work flexibility or a stipend to help with costs associated with menstrual or menopausal care.

Quartz reported in March that amid the fight for talent, a growing number of employers are also offering fertility coverage, including IVF, which can cost more than $12,000 per treatment on average in the US. Companies like Apple and Meta offer to cover costs of egg-freezing, which can cost $15,000.

Meanwhile, some employees going through menopause may have to contend with symptoms for a decade or more. Health advocates want employers to be aware that these employees may need added time off to accommodate symptoms. To that end, UK-based retailer Asos and fitness company P.volve both offer menopause-related health benefits.

Business psychologist Clare Knox told Women’s Health this month that the workplace is “not set up for people who lose days to agonizing period pain or mental distress. It’s not set up for those going through fertility treatment or for those experiencing menopause—naturally or following a medical or surgical procedure.”

Something for everyone. While benefits related to fertility, menstruation, or menopause may be necessary for many women, some HR leaders say that women want to be able to choose what benefits will most work for their life and goals. The continued stigma around reproductive care and bodily functions may also make employees think twice about using these benefits offered to them, according to Quartz.

Tracy Avin, founder of the HR network TroopHR and a former benefits expert, recently told HR Brew that women “want benefits that are going to be inclusive and equitable. Clearly, menopause and menstruation are things that impact almost all women. But, when you think about some of the other traditional female-focused benefits, like fertility and family leave, that’s not necessarily something that all women are interested in. What I’m hearing the most is that women want to make sure that they’re not missing out on the opportunities in the workplace for advancement.”—KP

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HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.