5 LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employee Benefits That Go Beyond the Basics

For LGBTQ+ employees, specific benefits can significantly impact their well-being and career development. Let’s walk through five benefits that can help address specific challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees and enhance employee attraction and retention.

Benefits 101

May 09, 2024 ⋅ 5 min read

In the modern workplace, diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords—they are fundamental components of company culture that drive innovation and employee satisfaction. 

For LGBTQ+ employees, specific benefits can significantly impact their well-being and career development. Implementing these benefits not only supports these employees but also positions a company as a forward-thinking, inclusive, and top place to work. 

Let’s walk through five benefits that can help address specific challenges faced by LGBTQ+ employees and enhance employee attraction and retention.

1. Inclusive and accessible mental healthcare

LGBTQ+ individuals often encounter mental health challenges that can be worsened by experiences of discrimination, stigma, and exclusion, including in professional environments. 

According to a report by Business in the Community, 81% of LGBQ+ employees have experienced a mental health condition, which is a 21% increase from non-LGBTQ+ employees. By putting in place mental healthcare benefits that are both inclusive and attuned to the specific needs of LGBTQ+ employees, employers can address these disparities and foster a healthier, more engaged team.

But the same mental health provisions that work for some may not be the best fit for LGBTQ+ employees. That’s why it’s important to check that your benefit providers are LGBTQ+ friendly, so your employees are able to access mental healthcare that can speak to their specific needs.

This commitment not only helps in attracting talent who value supportive and inclusive work environments but also aids in retaining employees by demonstrating that their employer genuinely cares about their health and wellbeing. That not only alleviates personal employee stress, but also cultivates a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion.

2. Gender affirmative healthcare

For many transgender employees, gender affirmative care is a crucial step towards aligning their physical appearance with their gender identity, significantly affecting their mental health and quality of life. 

However, these treatments, including hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery, are often not covered by standard health insurance plans, making them financially inaccessible for many. 

But more and more private medical insurance providers are offering gender affirmation treatments on an on-demand basis, making this an option to look into when setting up your PMI benefits. Larger companies might also choose to set up a medical trust for more control and flexibility over what treatments are covered.

By offering gender affirmative care benefits, companies can significantly reduce the financial and emotional stress on transgender employees. This not only aids in attracting top talent from the transgender community but also fosters loyalty and long-term commitment from employees who feel genuinely supported by their employer.

3. Assisted reproduction

LGBTQ+ employees often face unique challenges when starting families, particularly for same-sex couples wishing to have biological children. The cost of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) can be prohibitively high, creating a significant barrier to parenthood. By offering financial assistance for these services, companies can make parenthood more accessible to LGBTQ+ employees.

Key ART procedures that could be covered include:

  • In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
  • Surrogacy
  • Sperm and egg donation
  • Egg freezing

But be sure when setting these benefits up that LGBTQ+ employees are covered, as sometimes, a diagnosis of infertility may be required for treatment to be covered, which isn’t necessarily the case for many same-sex couples looking for reproductive assistance.

This inclusivity can be a significant factor for LGBTQ+ talent evaluating their career options. Companies that recognise and adapt to the varied family-building needs of their employees not only foster a supportive workplace but also attract top talent motivated by inclusive, family-friendly policies.

4. Adoption support

Adoption is a popular pathway to parenthood for many, though it presents several barriers. The process can be expensive, often involving substantial fees for agency services, legal costs, and sometimes international travel. Additionally, LGBTQ+ prospective parents can face discriminatory legal hurdles and biases from agencies, which can prolong or obstruct the adoption process. By offering adoption support, companies can significantly reduce the stress and financial burden on employees.

Key components of adoption assistance benefits could include:

  • Financial assistance: Covering part or all of the adoption fees, agency costs, and legal expenses.
  • Legal support: Providing access to or financial assistance for legal counsel specialising in adoption, particularly useful for navigating state-specific laws or international adoptions.
  • Parental leave: Offering the same duration of leave to adoptive parents as is offered to biological parents, ensuring they have time to bond with their child.

These benefits are highly valued by employees who are considering or pursuing adoption. They enhance a company's attractiveness to prospective employees who see family-building support as a critical factor in their employment decisions. 

Plus, these benefits can boost retention among current employees who feel supported in their personal and family goals, encouraging a deeper sense of loyalty and strengthening your company's reputation as a family-friendly workplace.

5. Career coaching and professional development

LGBTQ+ employees often encounter specific career development challenges, including discrimination and lack of representation in leadership roles. LGBTQ+ women, for example, are significantly more likely to be an ‘only’ when compared to other colleagues. But targeted career coaching and professional development opportunities can help them overcome these barriers and achieve their potential. 

Offering tailored career development programs demonstrates an employer’s commitment to the professional growth of their LGBTQ+ employees. This not only helps in recruiting ambitious, career-oriented LGBTQ+ professionals but also supports the retention of talent by providing clear pathways to advancement and success.

Final thoughts

By implementing these five LGBTQ+ inclusive benefits, employers can significantly enhance their appeal to a diverse talent pool and retain top employees who feel respected and supported. This not only fosters a more inclusive workplace culture but also drives business success by ensuring that all employees have the support they need to thrive both personally and professionally.

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