Sammy Nickalls
October 20, 2015 9:51 am

Today, tech giant Intel has announced something majorly great: It will now offer its salaried employees and hourly workers $40,000 in lifetime medical coverage for fertility treatment like in-vitro fertilization, officially quadrupling the previous fertility benefits available to employees. But that’s not all: The California-based chip-making company has also decided to cover costs of freezing eggs, sperm, embryos, or cord blood, and they’re tripling their benefits for adoptive parents to $15,000 per child and lifting the lifetime cap. On top of that, same-sex employees, who were previously ineligible because the benefit required an infertility diagnosis, are granted access to subsidized fertility and surrogacy services for the first time.

The company decided to provide its employees these opportunities to help them pursue their career and their family life — particularly women in the company who might otherwise leave to be full-time mothers. “At the end of the day,” Intel vice president and director of compensation and benefits Ogden Reid told Mashable, “it’s about creating a work environment and culture that says you’re balancing an intense work life with a great family life.”

The benefits make Intel quite competitive and will be a major aid to women in their 30s and 40s who may have delayed starting a family for their career — including women in tech both outside and inside of Intel, as some current Intel workers may have previously been looking for a career with better family planning benefits. “Retention is something I’m seeing companies focus on right now because the market is so hot,” Carolyn Betts, CEO of the San Francisco-based Betts Recruiting, told Mashable.

However, it’s also a way to combat the intense gender imbalance in tech. . . especially since three-quarters of Intel’s workforce is comprised of men, while 80% to 83% of its leadership are men. That’s why earlier this year, Intel announced a $300 million plan to achieve “full representation” of women and minorities by 2020. “It’s no longer acceptable to have your entire C-suite be all male,” Betts told Mashable.

The new caps are based on the relatively low success rate of fertility treatments, considering that the average treatment can cost $20,000 but only be 20% to 30% likely to work. “We’re hopeful that we can increase the odds by going from paying for half of one cycle to paying for two full cycles,” Reid told Fortune.

This year, we’ve seen various tech companies race to provide their employees with ample family benefits. This summer, Netflix gave its employees unlimited time off for the first year of having a child. Adobe has also expanded paid leave for its mothers and fathers. Last year, Facebook and Apple announced coverage of freezing eggs and sperm. But now, tech giants want to make their companies more diverse, and encourage women to bring their talents to the team without feeling torn between family and work. “The days where you had to choose one or the other,” Reid told Mashable, “we want to put that behind us.”

We applaud Intel for taking a major step towards leveling the playing field for women in tech and creating an inclusive atmosphere. Slowly, we’re breaking down the barriers of sexism in the tech industry, brick by brick.

(Image via Flickr Creative Commons.)

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