WOMEN make a significant contribution to the South African economy, often bringing valuable skills and expertise to the workforce.

As employers increasingly recognise the value that gender representativity contributes to workplace diversity and dynamics, the importance of ensuring that staff have access to good maternity benefits as part of their company health care cover is gaining further credence in the war for talent. Bianca Viljoen, a director at Agility, a health care risk management solutions company, said: “In recent decades, the value of the labour, skills and expertise of South African women have come to be rightfully recognised and respected.

“To achieve true gender parity in the workplace, over and above such obvious principles as equal pay for work of equal value and policies that support career progression, it is important that women’s health, including their reproductive health, is adequately supported.” She noted that as employers seek to attract and retain female talent, employee benefits and health care cover that are relevant to the needs of women are factors that are particularly attractive to this segment of the job market.

“Often, women tend to be astute at evaluating employment benefits and are frequently the health care decision makers in their families. When deciding between various job opportunities, women will often weigh employee benefits such as life cover and health care cover offerings as significant factors in the total employment packages on offer. “When choosing health care cover for employees, it is therefore well worth employers taking the time to consider factors such as maternity benefits available for staff members, from the factory floor to executives,” she said.

“Corporates that are serious about providing meaningful employee benefits should not underestimate the value proposition that can be delivered through supporting women’s health concerns. For example, medical scheme benefit options should offer cover that provides preventive healthcare benefits, including those that are directly relevant to women’s health such as pap smears to screen for early signs of cervical cancer and general health checks like blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol testing. “This offering ensures that staff have access to private health care, including unlimited general practitioner consultations per year, confirmation of pregnancy, two sonar scans per pregnancy and referral for maternity care, as well as basic dentistry, radiology and optometry and access to GP-dispensed acute medication.

Supplied by Agility Corporate

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