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28 Mar 2024

Using fertility benefits to reduce presenteeism

Providing fertility and benefits to aid the family creation process can cut presenteeism and help employee under pressure feel supported

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Almost two-thirds (65%) of employees say they have spent time at work researching fertility treatments, benefits, and family forming.

This phenomenon — when employees haven’t taken time off but are less productive due to other personal distractions — is called presenteeism. 

Fertility and family forming can be complex. From researching clinics, to attending appointments, to assessing the financial impact, time adds up. 

Research in the US suggests that presenteeism costs employers 10 times more than absenteeism.

While creating a flexible workplace can help ensure employees can be honest about taking off the time they need, employers also have the opportunity to address challenges at their source by reducing the logistical and financial burdens of family forming. 

Here are a few ways that fertility benefits can help employees feel less stressed and more supported. 

Financial stress and family forming

Financial stress and presenteeism are connected. In a Carrot survey, for employees looking to start or grow their families, only 32% said they can afford fertility treatments. Another survey found that 49% of financially stressed employees spent three or more hours each week dealing with financial issues at work.

Fertility and family forming costs vary but often exceed tens of thousands of pounds. Yet, many companies lack inclusive fertility and family forming benefits that support the different routes to parenthood.

But a lack of access to financial support doesn’t mean people won’t pursue parenthood — they may just get into debt: 29% of Carrot's survey respondents planned to go into debt to fund treatment, with some saying they would dip into their savings, take a second job, or sell possessions.

Fertility benefits can help reduce financial stress and make having a family possible for employees. 

Depending on the benefit, employees may have access to discounted rates and receive a financial benefit from their employer dedicated to fertility and family forming. 

For employers, offering fertility benefits can ultimately lower overall healthcare costs. Offering evidence-based, non-invasive alternatives to IVF can also help reduce costs. Providing fertility benefits is also beneficial to recruitment and retention efforts: 72% of respondents to Carrot's Fertility at Work report said they would stay at their company longer if they had access to fertility benefits, and 65% said they would change jobs to access fertility benefits. 

Care coordination

From start to finish, the fertility and family forming process can involve several time-consuming steps. And adoption can take six months at the minimum and at least three to 12 additional months to finalise.

Providing fertility benefits that include care coordination can make this process easier and reduce the amount of time employees need to spend searching for clinics and setting appointments. Care coordination can also help members find clinics and services that meet their preferences. 

The emotional side

Fertility and family forming can be emotionally taxing, especially if there is a bump in the road: 89% of respondents reported in a survey that fertility and family forming affected their mental health.

The importance of mental health — and the impact mental health struggles can have on the workplace — came into focus during the Covid-19 pandemic. Depression is a top cause of presenteeism and highly associated with time management challenges and overall productivity. 

As well as providing mental health support to employees, it can also be helpful to offer resources specific to their experiences through fertility benefits. 

At Carrot, for example, members have unlimited access to unlimited chats with mental health professionals with experience in family-forming journeys. 

Creating a work environment that welcomes open conversation can help, too. Research suggests that when employees feel more comfortable discussing fertility issues in the workplace, they’re more likely to feel supported. 

In Carrot’s survey, 79% of respondents said they feel uncomfortable discussing fertility openly at work, and 33% are uncomfortable having these discussions with a supervisor or manager. Providing manager training can help make conversations easier and reduce stress. 

A healthy and productive workplace starts with understanding the stressors your employees might be under.

With one in six couples worldwide experiencing infertility and 63% of LGBTQ+ families planning to pursue adoption or donor help, it is likely there are employees in your company starting a stressful process of their own. Clearing their path helps create a healthier, more focused workplace where employees want to stay. 

In partnership with Carrot

Comprehensive and inclusive fertility care platform, supporting family forming and hormonal health.

Contact us today


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