It’s Pride Month — a time of year when companies rightly celebrate their LGBTQ+ employees. However, many employers are missing out on ways that they could be supporting their queer and trans employees, especially when it comes to their benefits package. Pay equality is often viewed as the most important financial issue in the workplace, but employer-sponsored benefits can play a huge role in either leveling the playing field for LGBTQ+ employees or perpetuating inequality.
Comprehensive Health Insurance
Out-of-pocket medical expenses can have huge financial consequences for queer and trans employees. Even finding an LGBTQ+ friendly healthcare practitioner can be a challenge, so it’s key to offer coverage with a wide range of providers to ensure that LGBTQ+ employees don’t need to go out of network to just see a doctor. Mental health coverage is also important since LGBTQ+ people are more likely to face mental health challenges due to stigma.
Trans people face even higher potential costs depending on how much gender-affirming care their health insurance covers.
IVF, Surrogacy, and Adoption Benefits
Having kids is expensive and queer couples know that better than most. Unfortunately, health insurance often does not cover the cost of medical expenses related to family planning for queer couples, including IVF and surrogacy. Some companies are choosing to help employees with the cost of starting a family. Johnson & Johnson provides up to $35,000 to all employees for infertility treatments like IVF and up to $20,000 towards surrogacy or adoption.
Access to Retirement Accounts
Long-term financial security is a major issue for queer and trans people. On average, queer couples have 25% less saved for retirement compared to straight couples. They also face higher costs in retirement. According to Samantha Hernandez from The Money Institute, retirement is 40% more expensive for queer people who often shoulder the burden of living in a high cost of living area to stay in an LGBTQ+ friendly community.
Employers can maximize their impact here by eliminating waiting periods to open a retirement account and punitive vesting schedules.
Student Loan Assistance
Student loan assistance programs, in which employers pay a monthly or annual amount towards their employees’ student loans, are becoming a more popular employer benefit. Queer and transgender people are more likely to have student loan debt than their non-LGBTQ+ peers — nearly 40% of LGBTQ+ folks have some form of student loans.
Even better news, under the CARES Act, employers can make $5,250 in tax-free payments annually toward their employees’ student loans through 2025.
Public Transit Benefits
LGBTQ+ folks are more likely to live in urban areas like San Francisco and New York where rent is astronomically high and public transit is the norm. While a public transit benefit won’t offset the higher cost of living, it can help!
Many in the LGBTQ+ community are balancing complicated financial issues including debt, retirement, student loans, high cost of living, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. By offering financial literacy and financial coaching, employees can get judgment-free financial advice personalized to their specific situation.
The Financial Gym is a national, personal financial services company with a fitness-inspired approach. Certified Financial Trainers™ work with employees one-on-one via corporate partnerships virtually across the country. TFG also provides engaging webinars on topics such as aligning your money with your values, family planning strategies, and socially responsible investing.
6 Benefits to Maximize Support for Your LGBTQ+ Employees is written by The Financial Gym Team for financialgym.com