Supporting LGBTQ+ Employees and Families: Inclusive Benefits and Initiatives

Employee Benefits

Supporting LGBTQ+ Employees and Families: Inclusive Benefits and Initiatives

In today’s landscape, most organizations have recognized the importance of fostering inclusive workplaces that support their employees. As we celebrate Pride month and go into the second half of the year, employers can reflect on their offered benefits, considering new ways to help improve their inclusivity and further accommodate their LGBTQ+ workforce. These actions build a work culture where everyone feels respected and valued, helping give the organization a competitive edge in attracting and retaining talent. 

Providing comprehensive healthcare is a fundamental step in supporting holistic well-being. When designing inclusive coverage, it is essential to consider the unique needs of LGBTQ+ employees, and families with LGBTQ+ children or dependents.

  • Partner and Family Benefits: Inclusive programs may provide equitable coverage for domestic partners, parental leave and adoption assistance to accommodate LGBTQ+ families. 
  • Fertility Benefits: Programs should recognize there are many different paths to parenthood and encompass a wide range of fertility benefits. This could include assisted reproductive technology, like in vitro fertilization, surrogacy or other fertility treatments that help employees have equitable family planning options. 
  • Gender-Affirming Care: For many non-binary and transgender people, access to gender-affirming care is vital. Comprehensive health plans may include coverage for gender confirmation surgeries, hormone therapy and other necessary treatments. 
    • Additionally, take the time to evaluate your disability plan to verify  there are no exclusions for transgender medical services. 
  • Mental Health Support: LGBTQ+ individuals face stressors and challenges that could negatively impact their mental and emotional well-being. Comprehensive health plans may offer coverage for mental health services, such as therapy, counseling, support groups or telehealth options. 

In addition to healthcare, addressing an organization’s culture is necessary to create a supportive and inclusive environment. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have become integral to building a workforce comprised of diverse backgrounds, perspectives and experiences.  

DEI is not just a trendy buzzword. It helps drive innovation, workplace safety, productivity, a sense of belonging and employee satisfaction. These actions can be as small as adding your pronouns to your email signature or supporting the creation of employee resource groups.

The following are ways you can support and continue to evolve your DEI initiatives in your workplace: 

  • Non-Discrimination Policies: Establishing and enforcing policies that explicitly protect all employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity from harassment or discrimination.  
  • Workplace-Wide Training: DEI training helps raise awareness, challenge biases and promote understanding among employees and leadership, strengthening communication and collaboration. Consider offering the following: 
    • DEI training 
    • Unconscious bias training 
    • Inclusion training 
    • Harassment prevention and reporting
  • Employee Resources Groups:ERGs are voluntary groups representing individuals with shared identities, experiences and interests within a workplace. They provide an opportunity for networking, support and advocacy. Employers can make these groups possible by providing resources, budget and support.

Continually assessing and adapting benefits to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ employees is a crucial step in offering comprehensive benefits to your employees. Consider ways your organization can take meaningful steps towards a more supportive and inclusive work environment.  

Employee Benefits Team