Intel is the latest company to beef up its benefits for parents—and employees who want to become parents.
The company announced that, beginning in January 2016, it will quadruple fertility benefits for U.S. employees, going from a lifetime cap of $10,000 for fertility services and $5,000 for related prescription drugs to a $40,000 cap on services and $20,000 for medication. The new policy will also remove the requirement that employees get a medical diagnosis to access the benefits, which has been an impediment for some same-sex couples.
The new caps are based on research on odds of success for infertility treatments, says Ogden Reid, VP and director of compensation and benefits at Intel. Reid says the company considered data that found that the average treatment cycle costs up to $20,000 and is 20% to 30% likely to succeed. “We’re hopeful that we can increase the odds by going from paying for half of one cycle to paying for two full cycles,” he says.
The new fertility benefit will also add Intel to the list of companies—including other tech heavy-hitters like Facebook and Apple—that cover egg freezing. The decision to cover that process, as well as the freezing of sperm and embryos, “created a lot of internal debate,” says Reid. “My initial reaction was that it would send the wrong message about prioritizing work over having a family,” he adds. But when Intel polled female employees in their 20s and 30s, they sent the company a clear message. “They said, ‘We don’t need the company to protect us from their our own prioritizing around family and work,'” notes Reid.
At the same time, Intel will increase its adoption benefits. The old plan covered $5,000 per child with a $15,000 lifetime cap. The new benefit will go up to $15,000 per child, with no limit on the number of children an employee can adopt under the coverage. In this case, Reid says the company is simply catching up with the rising cost of adoption.
Only a tiny fraction of Intel’s employees will likely avail themselves of the new benefits, says Reid, but the moves are part of series of changes the company has made this year to “increase the options for working moms and dads.” (Intel has recently extended paid “bonding leave,” among other benefit upgrades.) He says “several hundred” of Intel’s U.S. workforce access infertility benefits each year, while “30 to 40” take advantage of the adoption policy.
“Not a ton of people access [these particular policies,] says Reid. “But we’ll all use some of this stuff over the course of our lifecycle. This is about less of a one-size-fits all policy.”
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