What legal issues arise when implementing global policies around women's health and fertility?
Employees and job candidates alike are actively seeking out opportunities with companies that focus on employee health, wellness, and family more so now than pre-pandemic. To maintain a diverse workforce and encourage women to remain at work, employers need to find better ways to support them by addressing the challenges women may face in negotiating the demands of their professional and personal lives.
Childcare, pregnancy and family leave have been a focus during the pandemic, but it is also essential for employers to acknowledge other aspects of women's morale and well-being such as endometriosis, fertility issues and menopause - all health issues that have long received too little attention in the workplace.
Recently, however, we have seen a culture shift and a movement to destigmatize these fundamental health issues for women across the globe which is resulting in changes to law as employee expectations have shifted around these issues. However, change is not without some legal concerns, as addressing any employee personal issue in the workplace delves into some areas of law that are complex and can differ significantly from one country to the next.
IVF is frowned upon in some cultures. Adoption has certain legal limitations. Surrogacy is considered a crime in some countries and anyone participating in the process can be found liable. For employers that genuinely want to offer assistance to their employees in these areas, it can be difficult to navigate the intricacies and complexities. Yet despite these challenges, the cost of doing nothing could have significant repercussions, as recent data suggests that women have left the workplace at alarming rates globally. Employers should note that change in this area is almost inevitable to remain competitive and attract top talent. There are ways to implement changes in a positive way, but it requires careful planning and a strategic approach that is country specific.
Here at Littler, we have a team focusing on women's health who are ready to assist you with navigating this complex area and in developing and implementing benefits and policies to assist your female workforce globally. To find out more, please consult your Littler attorney for additional advice or assistance.
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