Estée Lauder Expands Parental Leave Benefits for All US Employees

Estée Lauder Expands Parental Leave Benefits for All US Employees

As of this month, US employees of the Estée Lauder Companies can take advantage of an expanded range of family benefits, including 20 weeks of paid parental leave for all new parents, regardless of their gender or whether they became parents through birth, adoption, or foster placement. Birth mothers are entitled to an additional six to eight weeks of paid maternity leave, while employees seeking to become adoptive parents can request up to $10,000 in aid for adoption fees. Business Insider’s Leanna Garfield passed along more details of the new policy when it was announced late last month:

Both hourly and salaried employees are eligible, as long as they work at least 30 hours per week and have been with the company at least three months. Before the change, Estée Lauder offered 12 weeks of paid parental leave. The company will continue to offer up to $20,000 per year toward fertility treatments, as well as child or elder care at a reduced rate to eligible workers.

In addition, the company is launching a back-to-work transition program for new parents. As part of this six-week program, Estée will give parents flexibility on where and when they work. For example, a new mom could work from home a few days per week if she chooses, or a dad could adjust his schedule in that he comes in earlier and leaves earlier than the usual 9 to 5. And those who qualify for Estée’s new childcare/eldercare program expend a co-pay of $8 an hour.

Estée Lauder is framing this new benefit offering as a recognition of the fact that not all families are formed in the same way and that employees need more individualized options for starting their own. “We don’t want to dictate what their families should look like,” Latricia Parker, Estée Lauder’s Executive Director of Global Benefits, told Business Insider.

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Fertility Benefits Continue to Grow in Popularity

Fertility Benefits Continue to Grow in Popularity

More and more employers in the US are adding fertility benefits to their rewards packages in an effort to attract and retain employees who are interested in starting families. The latest organization to do so is State Street, which has added fertility and more generous adoption assistance to its benefits package in a deliberate effort to be more inclusive of LGBT employees in particular, Amanda Eisenberg reports at Employee Benefit News:

The financial services firm consulted its employees in an effort to make a meaningful expansion to its benefits package, which now includes four weeks of fully paid leave for employees who are primary caregivers to a child born via surrogacy; $20,000 in reimbursement for fertility-related expenses beyond the firm’s medical plans, such as surrogacy; and $20,000 in reimbursement for adoption assistance (up from its previous reimbursement of $5,000). The company says the benefits can be used once per calendar year and employees are allowed up to $40,000 in lifetime financial support for these benefits combined.

State Street is by no means alone in embracing fertility benefits as a talent attractor: A Willis Towers Watson survey conducted in January found that 66 percent of US employers expect to offer these benefits by next year, compared to 55 percent in 2017. These programs are also becoming more inclusive of LGBT employees who are looking to start families: 65 percent of employers who offer fertility benefits currently provide coverage to same-sex couples, but 81 percent are expected to by 2019. Employers told Willis Towers Watson that their main motivations for providing fertility benefits were to support diversity and inclusion, to help attract and retain top talent, to be recognized as a “best place to work,” and to foster a more woman-friendly workplace.

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American Express Announces New Benefits for Working Parents

American Express Announces New Benefits for Working Parents

American Express has joined the parental leave arms race, announcing a new policy that gives 20 weeks of leave at full pay to employees, male or female, who become parents through birth, adoption, or surrogacy, Fortune’s Claire Zillman reports, and that’s not all:

It’s also offering employees benefits worth up to $35,000 for adoption and surrogacy events as well as $35,000 for infertility treatment—including advanced reproductive technology procedures—through its health plan. Under the company’s old plan, primary caregivers could take six weeks of paid leave and secondary caregivers received two weeks off. Its surrogacy and adoption benefits previously stood at $10,000 and reproductive services and infertility treatments were capped at $20,000.

U.S.-based regular full-time and part-time employees are eligible for the new benefits after working for AmEx for one year. The policy kicks in January 1. Conversations with employees as well as market forces prompted the change in policy, says Kevin Cox, chief human resources officer for AmEx. He says employees suggested that AmEx could support their parenting efforts “in a more complete way.”

Amex will also offer “a personal concierge for employees who are adding to their families, 24-hour access to lactation consultants, and free breast-milk shipping during business trips.” The change comes as many major employers are rolling out more robust parental leave offerings in an effort to retain working parents, particularly mothers, amid a growing understanding of how important family-friendly policies are to keeping women in the workforce after they have children. Policies that do not discriminate between mothers and fathers or between birth and adoptive parents are becoming increasingly popular as well.

The company’s generous new adoption, surrogacy, and fertility benefits are more unusual, but are also becoming more common: A recent study found that about one quarter of large employers (over 500 employees) offered fertility services as part of their health care benefits. Hilton Worldwide, meanwhile, announced a new adoption assistance benefit in October.

Large Employers Court Would-Be Parents With Fertility Benefits

Large Employers Court Would-Be Parents With Fertility Benefits

Many large enterprises are now offering fertility services as part of their benefits packages in an effort to appeal to employees who want to start families, SHRM’s Stephen Miller reports:

A recent study by the nonprofit International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) in Brookfield, Wis., shows that among large employers (those with 500 or more employees):

  • Nearly a quarter (24 percent) now offer fertility services as part of their health care benefits.
  • 19 percent cover in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.
  • 12 percent cover fertility medications.
  • 9 percent cover non-IVF fertility treatments.

Smaller numbers cover visits with counselors (genetic, surrogacy, etc.), at 6 percent, or egg harvesting/freezing services, at 4 percent. … Fertility services are more common among employers that have at least 500 employees … Only 4 percent of employers with fewer than 50 employees offer fertility services. Employers with a self-funded health plan are also more likely to offer fertility services than those with insured plans.

These findings, Miller adds, are consistent with SHRM’s own benefits data. Fertility benefits may be an effective way to send a family-friendly signal to employees and prospective employees, especially if coupled with generous parental leave and flexible work offerings for parents. However, as we’ve discussed before, employer-sponsored fertility programs can raise ethical concerns about employee privacy, especially when these programs involve apps that collect data about users’ fertility and share it with their employers.