Sunday, October 19, 2014

Freeze your eggs for your company ?

A couple of days ago in the morning news I picked up that Facebook (and soon Apple) provide a core benefit that allows you to freeze your eggs for free. I think the article was called freeze your eggs free your career, or something catchy like that. Of course, there was some outrage around this. My Facebook feed is full of outrage and re-sharing of this news. Well at least some good news that we now know Facebook is not reading our posts then. 

Now my knowledge is only as good as what's reported and we all know news is always sensationalised. Any how here is what I think: 
The issue is that it's a core benefit. If you have a core benefit it implies that it's something you need for a comfortable life. For example, medical cover is needed for you in case you fall sick and you of course want to get better. On the other hand, it's in your company's best interests  to make sure you get better soon and get back to work. But at the same time, you are not expected to use your medical until you need it. Now do you use your benefit and freeze your eggs only if you need to? There is no particular point at which it turns into a need because it's always a choice. But then, it raises the logical question that whether or not you want to postpone your pregnancy why don't you just freeze your eggs anyway, it's free. Well there may be many reasons why personally someone would not want to do that. So even though it's always a choice it creates the air of a non choice. What's in it for the company? If women postponed their pregnancy, company has to find replacements during maternity, ensure continuity of work hours, longer work hours, and hence the freeze-your-eggs option which probably is even economical if the company thinks the maternity pay might actually be around the same expense for it, especially if a women had two children. If that's true, they got their policy right. But on the other hand if they wanted to make it a more conducive work environment for women and ensure they have more control on their careers and pregnancy so that the overall productivity for the company increases, they need to make it optional and broader. I dunno Facebook's policy but most private medical insurance doesn't include maternity cover. Understandably, because it's an assured expense in most cases.
What they could have is an optional benefit of fertility cover at a reduced premium. This is again an assured expense but given the wider variety, the company could possibly provide benefits for everyone. It could include maternity expenses for those having children, fertility enhancing treatment and IVF for those who are trying to have children, adoption and surrogacy expenses for those who want to but can't have children, freezing eggs and IVF for those who don't want to have children right now and any sterilisation surgeries for those who do not want to have children any more.  It need not be only for female employees, male employees will also need to share expenses at most times and men might need treatment as well. It could cover the employee or spouse or both and could be useful for same sex partners as well.

Update: Turns out they do have a decent maternity pay, they do have policies that help with adoption and surrogacy, and they also help you freeze your sperm. Now that's a holistic package, won't you agree! Again, **disclaimer** I got this information from other news media. I guess it's some of the random banter that media people have over in their pass time.
Also, it's a proper surgery. And there are always risks with surgery.
I'm sure there could have been more discussion on the unlimited holiday policy that some companies are bringing on these days.

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