Trans-inclusive employee benefits: 27 questions to guide yours

Ensuring that your employee benefits are trans-inclusive is one way to offer real, practical support to trans talent year-round.

Cartoon image of a woman holding a transgender pride flag

With anti-trans legislation so steeply on the rise, more than ever, this year’s Transgender Awareness Week (Nov. 13-19th) and Transgender Day of Remembrance (Nov. 20th) call for not just words, but action from employers. How can you help ensure your company is doing all it can to see and support trans talent, in November and beyond?

A practical, tangible answer involves taking a look at the trans-inclusivity of your employee benefits — then, making sure that trans employees and candidates know which trans-inclusive benefits you have available. That information can and should be made available anywhere that you share candidate-facing information about your employee benefits package, whether in job descriptions or on third-party company profile pages.

Not sure what qualifies as a trans-inclusive employee benefit? PowerToFly put together the following questionnaire to help you take inventory of how inclusive your benefits currently are of trans talent. Note that while many of these benefits can also apply to the wider LGBTQIA+ community as a whole, our goal was to focus on the benefits that specifically impact trans talent as much as possible.

PowerToFly is crowdsourcing information about companies' trans-inclusive employee benefits to share in a free database for trans professionals. Anonymously share your company's info here.

Medical benefits

1. Does your company offer at least one health insurance plan that provides coverage for gender-affirming care?

  • If yes to #1, what types of gender-affirming care and/or procedures are covered in this plan(s)? (Ex: gender confirmation surgery, breast augmentation, mastectomies, hormone therapy, hair removal, facial feminization and masculinization surgery, voice surgery, hair reconstruction, voice and communication therapy, tracheal shaving, puberty blockers for minor dependents)
  • If yes to #1, what requirements need to be met to access this care, if any? (Ex. Some plans require a specific # of years of therapy before hormone replacement therapy {HRT} can be accessed, or a specific # of years on HRT to access surgery)

2. What % of medical plan contributions does the company cover? What % do employees cover?

3. Many surgeons do not take insurance for procedures. Do any of your medical plans provide out-of-network coverage for gender-affirming care?

  • If yes to #3, what percentage of out-of-network gender-affirming care is covered, and what is the process for requesting reimbursement?

4. Does your company offer an HSA (attached to a medical plan that offers gender-affirming care) OR an FSA to be used at an employee’s discretion?

5. Is there a stipend or additional financial benefit for gender-affirming care costs not covered by medical plans?

6. Do dependents have access to your company’s gender-affirming care/coverage?

7. Do your insurance plan(s) or does the company itself offer any LGBTQIA+ specific assistance in navigating healthcare, insurance benefits, etc.?

Examples include insurance-led or third-party care coordination, or a direct line to insurance agents who are informed and trained on gender-affirming care.

8. Does your company offer short-term disability insurance and, if so, do the plans available cover gender transition-related outages the same as other medically necessary procedures?

Parental and family benefits

1. Is your company’s parental leave policy open to parents of all gender identities who’ve become a parent by any number of means, including a partner’s birth, surrogacy, adoption, or by fostering?

  • If yes to #1, is there a standardized amount of paid leave time available OR does this depend on if the employee is, for instance, giving birth vs adopting?

2. Does your company offer IVF and fertility benefits across gender identities, regardless of fertility status?

Did you know many fertility benefits today require proof of an infertility diagnosis in order to be accessed? This means LGBTQIA+ employees, of any gender, who aren’t infertile but who use IVF as a means to grow their families are excluded. This is a prime example of the way supposedly “progressive” employee benefits can still omit the needs of queer folks.

Read more about this in our guide:
Beyond Performative Allyship: A Comprehensive Guide to LGBTQIA+ Benefits at Work

3. Does your company offer financial assistance or stipends for adoption and surrogacy?

4. Does your company's insurance plan(s) and/or the company itself offer any LGBTQIA-specific assistance in navigating parental leave, fertility issues, or family building?

Financial benefits

Note: While LGBTQIA+ Americans across the board aren’t as securely set up for retirement as their straight counterparts, that’s especially true for transgender people, whose wages are on average 32% less than their cis peers of a similar or lower education level. For trans women in particular, the wage gap is even higher at 40%. With that in mind, benefits that help trans employees and their families build wealth and save for retirement are vital.

1. Does your company offer 401(k) matching?

2. Does your company offer student loan repayment assistance?

3. Does your company offer tuition reimbursement or other assistance/services?

4. Does your company offer home-buying assistance/services?

5. Does your company offer financial counseling and/or planning services?

  • If yes to #5, are those involved trained on LGBTQIA+ issues? (This would include if someone can substitute a chosen name for a given name, if notes can be made on an individual’s account that they use different pronouns, how easy it is for someone to change their legal name and gender on file, etc.)

Additional benefits

1. Does your company offer mental health-specific benefits?

  • If yes to #1, which ones? (Examples: Fully covered outpatient mental health services, an employee assistance program/EAP that includes counselors and support personnel who identify as queer, LGBTQIA+ inclusive and affirming wellness coaching, mental health days, Talkspace or Headspace access, etc)

2. Does your company offer any additional health & wellness-related benefits like: generous or unlimited PTO, flexible schedules, stipends for healthy meals and to put toward memberships at LGBTQIA+ friendly gyms, etc.?

  • If yes to #2, which ones?

3. Does your company offer relocation assistance/benefits to employees impacted by anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation in their state, including if the employee is a parent to an impacted child?

4. Does your company offer travel assistance/benefits to employees who must travel for gender-affirming care?

5. Does your company have at least one LGBTQIA+ ERG?

6. Does your company have transition plans that help HR, managers, and transgender employees navigate gender identity transitions at work?

7. Does your company have training on LGBTQIA+ community allyship?

8. Does your company encourage sharing pronouns in email signatures, on name tags, in meetings, etc.?

9. Does your company have a gender-neutral dress code (or no dress code at all)?

10. Does your company match employee donations to LGBTQIA+ specific organizations?

Take our survey to help us build an anonymous, crowdsourced database of trans-inclusive employee benefits.

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