No longer on the ‘fringe’ of benefits, fertility coverage offered by more employers to attract workers

Companies at one time referred to employee fringe benefits as the ‘hidden paycheck,’ and while that expression isn’t used much today, the reality is that up to one-third of an employee’s overall compensation is paid to them in the form of benefits. As employers ramp up work-life benefits in their employee packages to attract workers, savvy job candidates are not only paying attention to insured benefit offerings—like infertility coverage—but are specifically seeking out positions with these types of perks.

In the quest to have families, it’s becoming less about the paycheck. Many are working solely to get coverage for the desirable—and expensive—fertility treatments and procedures, according to an August 21 Wall Street Journal article about individuals who have taken even hourly positions, such as cashiers or baristas, for their coverage. While employers are continually doing cost-benefit analyses of the benefits they extend to employees, a 2021 survey conducted by national infertility association Resolve and benefits-advisory firm Mercer, found that 97% of respondents who offer fertility benefits, including employers that currently cover IVF, have not experienced a significant cost increase in their medical plan costs. That’ s up from 91% who responded the same way in 2006.

Whether someone’s in for fertility treatments or something else, employee benefits deserve close scrutiny during the job offer process. Remember, a solid package offers three pillars of financial security:

1. Immediate Financial Security – Having a comprehensive health care plan that meets “essential” healthcare needs like physical exams and will protect from any surprises like emergency room treatments.
2. Short-term Financial Security – Involves a disability and life insurance plan underwritten by a reputable insurance company to allow for the ability to earn income while not working due to a disability and protect family members in the event of an unexpected death.
3. Long-term Financial Security – Helps employees plan for their future when they no longer wish to work (or not work full-time). It should be set up for relative savings ease – through a 401(k) plan or other savings vehicle, to build up net worth paycheck after paycheck.

Because the cost of employee benefits doesn’t typically show up in an employee’s W-2, it’s easy to overlook their significance in the overall compensation package. As employers’ shifting priorities put new focus on a variety employee benefits that tackle work-life balance, it’s important for job candidates and employees to consider all available options – and do the math on the value of benefits (like fertility treatments) versus salaries when weighing job offers.