5 key benefits every company should offer women employees
Insuring employees is one thing but making a comprehensive benefit plan for ensuring the wellbeing of a female employee is a must-have in today’s time.
The gender gap in health and wellbeing is skewed. Women are expected to bear with pain and juggle a multitude of tasks irrespective of what state of health they are in.
The fall in mental health among women is far worse than men, and the reasons are multifold. As per a McKinsey report highlighting Covid-19’s impact on women at work, globally one in four women had to leave the workforce during the pandemic, women felt more pressured at work (owing to work and home-related duties) and women’s roles were more vulnerable than men and they had to upskill or consider a new role to keep their careers/ jobs.
In most cases, there are the following women related ailments on the rise:-
● Stress related issues like lack of sleep and anxiety
● Hair fall and skin related issues
● Pre and postnatal complications
At a time when women across the globe are grappling with increasing mental and physical health challenges, a host of corporates are designing dedicated programs to help them find better work-life harmony.
However, there is a large percentage of organisations that still lack knowledge while supporting women’s health in the workplace. As a result, female employees have had to compromise on the quality of personal and professional life alike.
The pandemic has transformed the relationship between employers and employees and individuals have become more empathetic towards mental health and employee wellbeing in general. Organisations in today’s time are taking proactive measures to keep a check on the health and well-being of their female employees. This helps in keeping them motivated and provides them with a sense of belonging. This is the time when employers should place female employees’ health and mental wellbeing at the centre of their business strategies.
Insuring employees is one thing but making a comprehensive benefit plan for ensuring the wellbeing of a female employee is a must-have in today’s time. Below are the five trending benefits that corporates should provide to advance women’s wellbeing in the workplace.
Obstetrician-Gynaecologist (OB-GYN) – Reproductive health, pregnancy, and child-birth hold great importance when it comes to women employees. Corporate insurance policies offering coverage for these health conditions will go a long way in securing the wellbeing of women employees. Companies should make an effort at customising insurance offerings so that such medical services can be covered in insurance, along with the overall wellbeing of the women employees by supplementing telemedicine services, counselling and in-office child care facilities. Similarly, corporates should do tie-ups to provide childcare at the office premises itself from creche to the availability of paediatricians.
Female Sexual Wellness – Let’s face it. Speaking or discussing sex is still a taboo in our society. Women find it hard to discuss their sexual problems even with friends or colleagues. Occasional seminars to create awareness around sexual well-being and helpline numbers for them freely express their problems will make them feel inclusive. Moreover, there must be channels open where women can file complaints against sexual harassment without being judged. Beyond lip service, if such initiatives are implemented, it will make women employees more loyal to the workplace.
Nutrition – A sound mind in a sound body. A nutritious diet is a must for a healthy body. Women juggle between households and workplace troubles day-in and day-out. Employers should take efforts at ensuring awareness around nutritious food. This holds even more importance in small and medium enterprises where women workers are employed in bulk in labour work. The companies should take measures to provide them with a good diet that keeps them in good health.
Counselling – A supporting environment at the workplace where women can approach counsellors to talk about their issues can help them handle their mental health. Corporates should ensure women employees have access to relationship and marriage counselling.
Maternity covers – A comprehensive group health insurance plan can instantly make your company a great place to work with maternity cover being a key add-on to be opted for along with general health insurance for female employees. Maternity cover can be designed based on the size of the company as it cannot be one size fits all. Generally, maternity covers offer benefits between 50,000 to 1,00,000 depending on the population of the company. The corporates should opt for offering baby day covers hence ensuring health protection of the children of their employees from the very first day of their birth. Maternity benefits coupled with baby day one covers go a long way in reducing the financial burden of these young adults, many of whom could be new parents.
We would be remiss not mentioning critical issues like discrimination against women returning to work (post pregnancy or a career-break), pay-parity, surrogacy and adoption leaves and the fact that in 2019, the percentage of women in India’s workforce fell to 20.3% (from 26% in 2005). Even our neighbours Bangladesh and Sri Lanka do much better in this regard.
While other important benefits can be life and leadership training. Employers should conduct workshops, seminars, and training programs for career development. Women willing to take their careers to another pedestal must have a concrete understanding to shape their career trajectory. The support coming in from employers will give them the confidence to improvise their skills, thus moving ahead in their professional life.
A healthier organisational culture is a result of a high percentage of women. Therefore, when it comes to women at work, there are several issues to fix - starting from the patriarchal mindset itself. It is high time to empower and enable women to care for their physical and emotional health, as by doing this we will be ensuring their continued participation in the workforce.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan