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Merck India establishes new boundaries with fertility benefit package.

Merck India establishes new boundaries with fertility benefit package.

Merck India, a global life sciences company, has launched an innovative Fertility Benefit Programme to improve employee well-being. The programme provides financial and emotional support for fertility treatments to both male and female employees and their spouses. Merck India created the programme after realising that women drop out of senior positions, leaving a “leaky bucket” concern.

The aim is to empower employees to balance career and personal aspirations, particularly when it comes to family planning. The company acknowledges the societal pressure on women to adhere to a rigid timeline for motherhood and offers a range of fertility preservation treatments such as IVF and IUI, not just to employees but also their spouses. Financial assistance is capped at Rs 10 lakhs to recognise the complexities and costs associated with these treatments.

Merck India went beyond traditional channels to break down barriers surrounding discussions about fertility, organising panel discussions featuring healthcare experts and individuals who have navigated fertility journeys. Mental health takes centre stage, with counselling support readily available through the employee-assistance programme. Inclusivity is a core element of the programme, and it extends to male employees, recognising the stigma surrounding male infertility. The programme is gender-neutral, available to all employees regardless of gender identity.

Merck India will track engagement, attrition rates, and overall well-being to measure the impact of this initiative. Confidentiality is paramount, with stringent access controls ensuring only two levels within the organisation handle sensitive information. Launched in late 2023, the programme is already seeing traction.

Merck India envisions expansion, hoping to influence assisted-reproductive laws and make the programme more gender-neutral. They aim to extend benefits to the LGBTQ community once legal frameworks permit, showcasing their commitment to evolving policies to meet the diverse needs of their workforce. By tackling a sensitive topic head-on and offering tangible support, Merck India is redefining employee well-being and setting a new standard for corporate empathy and inclusivity in India.


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