FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — Today, the Fairfax County School Board unanimously approved a proposal directing the Superintendent to develop a plan for achieving family planning benefit parity for qualified LGBTQIA+ employees within Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). School Board members Karl Frisch (Providence District) and Megan McLaughlin (Braddock) sponsored the initiative.
Almost universally, medical insurance providers define family planning benefits that assist with conception in heterosexual terms, leaving qualified LGBTQIA+ employees with limited access to the same benefits enjoyed by their non-LGBTQIA+ colleagues and forcing them to pay for needed treatments out of pocket.
“To attract and retain a premier workforce, especially in this extremely competitive hiring environment, qualified FCPS employees must have equitable access to the school division’s robust family planning medical benefits,” said School Board member Frisch. “Our LGBTQIA+ employees and their families deserve the same respect and support as anyone else. Fairness is fundamental.”
Some local governments and corporations have established grant programs to bridge this gap and provide family planning benefit parity for qualified LGBTQIA+ employees. In addition, a few states now require insurance companies to provide family planning benefit parity for LGBTQIA+ people — Virginia does not.
The Board’s vote gives the Superintendent six months to determine the legal pathway available for Virginia school divisions to offer such support, analyze current FCPS family planning benefits to create a list of treatments and costs needed for parity, and develop an implementation plan, including consideration for potential structure, staffing, and budgeting. Additionally, the Board indicated an interest in working with the Board of Supervisors to advance benefit parity for school division and County employees in tandem.
Once the Superintendent’s assessment is complete, the Board may consider the resulting guidance for implementation.