Surveys are conducted periodically to compile lists of “best employee benefits.” Those lists have included items such as:
- free lunch (yes, there is such a thing for some lucky employees);
- fully-paid insurance premiums;
- gym membership and fitness classes;
- flexible schedules, including 4-day workweeks;
- telecommuting options;
- transportation subsidies;
- paid maternity and paternity leave;
- unlimited vacation (my colleague Kara Nickel blogged about this a few weeks ago);
- tuition reimbursement;
- on-site childcare (or even pet care); and
- break rooms equipped with large screen televisions, video games, ping pong and billiard tables, etc.
In an effort to attract female candidates, Apple (approximately 70% male workforce) and Facebook (approximately 69% male workforce) will pay for women to freeze their eggs. The benefit will allow women to join the workforce, climb the corporate ladder, and delay pregnancy while their biological clocks continue to tick.
According to Apple, “we want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families.”
The cost of the procedure is approximately $10,000, plus yearly storage fees. Both companies reportedly will cover up to $20,000 in costs.
At first blush, the policy may sound like an innovative way to achieve workforce diversification. Not everybody agrees. Some opponents view the egg freezing policy as a degrading prioritization of work over family – as if women can’t have a family and a career at the same time. Others fear that a largely male management team may frown upon women who chose the more “traditional” child bearing path over egg freezing.
Supporters and opponents of the egg freezing benefit adopted by Apple and Facebook hopefully agree on one thing – workforce diversification is important. What steps has your company taken to diversify its workforce? We would love to hear from you.