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How we designed an employee benefit that supports employees of all genders

Last year, we announced gender justice—the realization of equality and equity for all genders—as one of our justice pillars. They’re the fundamental focus areas that guide TXI’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) work.

One way we’re working toward gender justice is via creating equitable employee benefits, and policies, and support systems. Here, we’ll explain how TXI designed one new gender-justice-oriented benefit – and how we’re leveraging other tools to meet our justice imperative.

We listened to employees’ call for support at a pivotal moment

In May 2022, a leaked US Supreme Court draft opinion previewed a landmark decision that would strip away the constitutional right to an abortion. If the Supreme Court ruled as expected (as it did the following month), abortion would be outlawed or severely restricted in 26 states.

The news sent shockwaves throughout our organization. Employees expressed a mixture of shock, anger, sadness, disappointment, and fear. Some folks on our distributed team lived in states where abortion access was suddenly at risk. And everyone was deeply concerned about the erosion of human rights.

There was nothing we could do to change our new national reality. But as an organization, we wanted to show empathy for employees—and do everything in our power to help them navigate this new change.

To find a solution, we did something we do every day in our product work: we listened to our “users” (in this case, TXI’s people) and decided to explore the possibility of an employer-funded benefit that could help remove barriers to care.

"We listened to our “users” (in this case, TXI’s people) and decided to explore the possibility of an employer-funded benefit that could help remove barriers to care."

We enabled equitable access to medical care for all genders

In designing a new employee benefit, we wanted to keep gender justice at the center. That meant ensuring our policy was equitable for all genders. In practice, our benefit needed to remove barriers to care for more than just abortion. Employees of all genders could face challenges accessing…

  • Gender-affirming care. Many states only have a handful of healthcare providers with experience supporting trans and nonbinary people.

  • Special surgeries. Some states may only have a few surgeons experienced in, say, heart transplants or brain surgery.

  • Regional children’s hospitals. Traveling to a distant hospital might require expensive round-trip travel and lodging.

After working with our benefits broker, we crafted a benefit that reimburses employees and their dependents for up to $4000 a year in transportation and lodging expenses related to insurer-covered medical care outside a 100-mile radius of their home. These expenses include…

  • Bus, taxi, train, and plane fares.

  • The cost of gas.

  • Car services and rideshares.

  • Transportation expenses for one accompanying support person (e.g., a partner, spouse, friend, or caregiver).

  • Lodging up to the IRS allowable max.

This benefit entered effect on July 1, 2022—just over a week after the Supreme Court officially overturned Roe v. Wade and well before the current surge in anti-trans legislation. Thanks to this new benefit, employees of all genders have more equitable access to medical care. It’s just one step toward realizing gender justice at TXI.

We’re leveraging other policies to achieve gender justice

So far, employees have expressed relief and gratitude around our latest employee benefit. But we know there’s more work to do. Gender justice isn’t something that’s realized overnight. It requires an ongoing effort to achieve equity and equality for people of all genders.

To that end, we’ve made a few recent and ongoing strides:

  • Paid family and medical leave. People can take up to 12 weeks off for things like childcare, medical recovery, or caretaking responsibilities.

  • Employee stock ownership. Employees of all genders have the opportunity to earn shares in our company. That’s a huge benefit for people with marginalized gender identities who have historically lacked access to share-buying capital.

  • Employee resource group (ERG). This team is spearheading the effort to establish an ERG for women at TXI. Right now, they’re iterating on the structure to find the best way to support employees.

As we continue to make progress toward gender justice, we’re regularly engaging with our team along the way. This way, we can center people’s needs as they change—and quickly tweak existing benefits and policies when necessary.

"True gender justice doesn’t exist in a silo. It sits at the intersection of racial equity, disability rights, and the various effects of climate change."

Gender justice is intersectional

If there’s one thing we’ve learned on our journey toward gender justice, it’s that true justice doesn’t exist in a silo. Gender justice sits at the intersection of racial equity, disability rights, and the various effects of climate change.

That’s why our DEIB approach focuses on four justice pillars: race, gender, disability, and the environment. By taking an intersectional approach, we can make advances in every area—and play a small role in building a just world.

If you’re interested in learning more about our DEIB work, we’d love to hear from you. Let’s start a conversation.

Published by Ellen Brast , Elizabeth Murphy

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