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Beyond Together: supporting employees on their path to parenthood

Together speaker Lissa Kline, of Progyny, discusses how employers can support employees who may be on the path to parenthood.  


We’re excited to have Lissa Kline, LCSW, SVP of Provider and Member Services at Progyny, joining us to speak at Together 2021. Progyny offers fertility and family building benefits, and their members have access to treatment coverage, concierge Patient Care Advocate support, and a broad network of high-quality fertility specialists across the U.S. Lissa has been with Progyny for over 3 years, and manages their Patient Care Advocate team. Lissa will join our panel “What’s the ‘Next Normal’ of healthcare?,” to discuss how this last year’s shift to virtual-first care has impacted demand among employers, capabilities within their teams, and relationships with their members.

Ahead of the panel, we sat down with Lissa to discuss current trends she and her team are seeing in family friendly benefits, and their perspective on how employers can support employees who may be on the path to parenthood.

How has COVID and the past year impacted families and the workforce?

Last year brought many challenges as people juggled work, life, taking care of their own health or that of a family member, and the impact on our mental health. For working parents, it exacerbated that struggle for work/life balance, with a disproportionate impact on women. In the past year, millions of women have left the workforce, either from job loss or furlough, or to take over childcare responsibilities. And 1 in 4 women are considering leaving the workforce or downshifting their careers – with the most significant impact to working moms with young children, senior management, and Black women. Employers are feeling this drain on talent and realizing the strides made towards gender, and racial diversity are just being undone.

How do you see the benefits landscape changing to support parents to be and working families? 

For many, building their family isn’t easy and HR and Benefits leaders are realizing how important it is to provide family-friendly benefits that will support their employees across all stages of life. There is also, rightfully so, a spotlight on the long-standing inequities and health disparities that exist in healthcare, that are also present in fertility and maternal health. Companies are prioritizing family-friendly benefits, like fertility benefits, to support a diverse and inclusive workforce and truly meet the needs of their employees. RESOLVE, the national infertility awareness association, just released a survey that cited the primary reasons employers were providing some type of fertility benefits coverage was to “ensure employees have access to quality, cost-effective care,” “stay competitive to recruit and retain top talent,” and to “be recognized as a “family friendly employer” (50%).

What do you wish employers knew about fertility and family building?

Infertility likely impacts more of your workforce, than you might think – 1 in 8 Americans, which is a rate higher than that of diabetes or breast cancer. While historically deemed a women’s issue, there are many underlying causes that impact both men and women. And, LGBTQ+ individuals and single parents by choice also need access to fertility treatments, as well as adoption and surrogacy services, to start their families.

Fertility treatment and family building can take a significant emotional, physical, and financial toll on an individual or couple. We know that firsthand, which is why we created a model that has individualized outreach based on where an individual or couple might be in their family building process. You may have employees that have been vocal about their experience in the workplace, but there are many others who may not feel as comfortable sharing their experience.

We are just coming off a lot of activity during National Infertility Awareness Week (April 18-25), where many companies have pledged to provide comprehensive benefits to their employees. It’s important we keep that momentum all year round. I recently hosted a conversation on how employers can help support employees on their family building journey, and just as you need a good support system outside of work – it can make a huge difference at work too. There are a few very simple steps a HR/benefits leader can take to support their team:

  • Employers can work to create an open and supportive workplace so that individuals with medical conditions have accommodations
  • Consider flexible scheduling for those who may be going through treatment
  • Know the resources that your company offers for parents and parents to be and if you do offer fertility and family building benefits, ensure they are communicated to employees

Infertility is not a condition that individuals choose or can prevent, but companies can choose how it supports its employees in what may be the most rewarding job they will ever have – parenthood.

Hear from Lissa and other HR, benefits, and thought leaders on May 13, 2021 at Together with Collective Health.  Save your spot today!.

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