Manulife is adding adoption, surrogacy support, fertility medication and gender affirmation along with increased family leave support for its employees in Canada.

Family leave support for its employees in Canada will provide 20 weeks of paid maternity leave and 12 weeks of paid parental and adoption leave, starting January 1.

The enhanced leaves build on other family-focused benefits introduced earlier this year for the company's Canadian and U.S. employees which include reimbursement of up to $20,000 per year for adoption and surrogacy support, and fertility medication for those in Canada.

Supporting health and well-being

"We know what it means for so many of our colleagues to have a family and we are proud to provide this valuable support to help them achieve this important dream," said Pam Kimmet, Manulife's Chief Human Resources Officer. "We're committed to making every day better for our customers and our colleagues, which is why we continually look for opportunities to deliver best-in-class programs that support health and wellbeing, and in ways that work for them."

As well, Canadian and U.S. employees and their dependents now have access to fully covered gender affirmation coverage. This includes coverage for surgical procedures such as Adam's apple reductions, cheek augmentation or breast augmentation, as well as non-surgical treatments such as voice training for transgender care.

"As the needs of our employees evolve, the benefits we offer have to as well. Families take many forms, such as single parents, same-sex couples, and transitioning transgender family members. And we look to support these different journeys," said Kimmet.

In 2017, Manulife introduced a $10,000 mental health practitioner benefit for its Canadian employees and their dependents. Since then, Manulife has removed financial barriers for employees in the U.S. to access mental health support by covering out-of-pocket costs for behavioural health and substance addiction. The company has added expanded virtual mental health services through firms both in Canada and the U.S.

In Canada, Manulife also now offers new medical marijuana coverage for help with specific health needs.