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22 Nov 2023
by Tara Travieso

More law firms are investing in inclusive fertility benefits

Offering a comprehensive solution that supports all fertility health and family forming can help set your firm apart in the battle for employee retention

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Ever since Covid-19 upended work for many people, employees have been looking for more from their employers, and those in the legal industry are no exception.

According to a national survey, recruitment/retention is the single greatest challenge for 60% of law firms. Factors like burnout, increasing competition and a focus on work-life balance are leading to more than 25% associate turnover at some firms.

While firms traditionally could expect to lose half of their associates over five years, those firms now risk losing 125% of their workforce over the same period.

While compensation is one factor, supportive programmes like fertility benefits that demonstrate an interest in and commitment to employees’ lives outside of work can have even more impact in improving employee retention and recruitment.

In fact, 60% of respondents said they would consider leaving their firm for a better work-life balance. Investing in fertility benefits can also help law firms meet diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals, a high priority for today’s job seekers.

Fertility benefits are becoming a must-have

Some fertility cover is common in the legal sector, but many firms don’t offer inclusive support. According to Business Group on Health, 87% of employers cover some kind of infertility treatment through their health plans, though that number drops to 70% for IVF coverage and 30% for fertility preservation coverage.

That’s why an increasing number of firms are introducing fertility vendors to offer a complete and inclusive solution. Offering a comprehensive solution that supports all fertility health and family-forming can help set your firm apart.

“The legal industry is starting to offer more sophisticated and customisable benefits,” says Hannah Lincecum, Senior HR Manager at Reed Smith. The company introduced fertility benefits in 2022.

“Our employees had let us know what they wanted. If we didn’t have that push from employees, and them saying this is important, we might not have begun this endeavour.”

Surveys also show that employees highly value fertility and family forming support. In a survey of employees in the legal services industry, 83% said they would find fertility benefits at least somewhat valuable, with a majority of this group saying they would find them very valuable. For those who already had at least some workplace fertility support, when asked if having access to fertility benefits would make them more likely to stay at their current firm, 77% responded positively

Supporting employees at all career stages

Fertility benefits are valuable to more of your workforce than you might expect. For people with ovaries, fertility starts to decline in their 30s. Age also impacts sperm health. Fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization are an option for those experiencing age-related infertility but are expensive, complicated, and emotionally overwhelming — and aren’t generally covered by many insurance plans.

Those who know they want to delay growing their family may choose to freeze their eggs, sperm, or embryos for later use. But this can be a complex and emotional journey.

Fertility healthcare also doesn’t have to be limited to family forming goals. Comprehensive benefits can include support for symptoms related to hormonal ageing, specifically menopause and low testosterone.

Comprehensive fertility benefits promote DEI

Along with recruitment and retention, fertility benefits can demonstrate your company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)s.

“We pursued a fertility benefit that was open to everyone,” said Lincecum. “It was important to send a message that lets employees know what our culture is like before they even join. That makes for a great wellbeing experience at work.”

Traditional insurance, which defines infertility as the inability to get pregnant through intercourse after six to 12 months, has traditionally left out LGBTQ+ families and single parents by choice.

An inclusive fertility benefits programme supports all fertility healthcare and family forming. For example, some people may choose to adopt, either privately or through foster care.

At Reed Smith, inclusive fertility benefits have been popular with employees across the company.

“Fertility benefits have been one of the most successful things we’ve rolled out in the last two years,” says Lincecum. “Fertility support had been in demand for so long, and in our current social climate, it was very well received.”

Comprehensive fertility benefits help your company get ahead of the curve while prioritising retention and recruitment efforts and reaching DEI goals. If you’re an HR leader in the legal industry and are seeking inclusive fertility benefits for your law firm, contact Carrot.

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