Case Study
Apple - Article 10 ICESCR (right to a family life)

Right + Threaty: Article 10, ICESCR
Sector: Technology sector
Country: USA
Right to a family life

Tech giants Apple and Facebook announced in October 2014 that they would offer up to $20,000 to U.S based female employees to cover the costs of freezing their eggs. Egg freezing is increasingly being used by women who want to delay motherhood for non-medical reasons. For example, women may choose to freeze their eggs if they have not found the right partner or if they want to focus on their career. “We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families” the company said in a statement.

Many companies have since followed suit, including Google, Uber, Yahoo, Snap, Netflix and eBay. The option aims to give employees more freedom to pursue family planning. It helps younger females who may not want kids in their twenties, but do not want the risks that come with delaying childbirth into their later years. The egg freezing policies expand upon the pre-existing generous family benefits offered by these companies. For example, Netflix offers up to 52 weeks of paid parental leave and Facebook offers adoption and surrogacy assistance.

Critics have suggested that the benefit suggests to female employees that their careers are so important that starting a family should be deferred. However, the financial assistance provided for egg-freezing by these companies expands a woman’s choice and provides options for creating a family and maintaining a work/family balance. It is not a compulsory policy.

This case study is also relevant to Article 23 of the ICCPR – the rights of protection of the family and the right to marry.