Perk or ploy to work more? Apple, Facebook to pay for female staff to freeze their eggs

It's a perk that will make both companies and staff sit up.

Apple Inc and Facebook Inc intend to help pay for female employees to freeze their eggs. The unusual move signals a willingness to spend on perks and benefits - all in the name of drawing top talent.

From January, Apple will pay both full- and part-time workers up to US$20,000 (S$25,500) for procedure and storage costs to freeze their eggs.

"We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cryopreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments," Apple said in a statement.

"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."

NBC News reported on Tuesday that Facebook recently began covering egg-freezing for non-medical reasons, making it one of the first major employers in the technology sector to do so.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that the company rolled out the benefit in January in response to requests from employees.

Egg freezing is a pricey but increasingly popular option for women who want to delay child bearing or undergo medical treatments that interfere with fertility such as with cancer.

The procedure typically costs up to US$10,000 (S$12,500), with an additional US$500 (S$640) for storage each year.

In the raging war for talent, Silicon Valley companies are offering an array of new family-planning perks.

Apple said it also reimburses eligible expenses associated with the legal adoption of a child.

The news has sparked debate on social media, with some questioning if this is a perk or ploy to get women to work more.

Apple recently introduced new benefits including extended parental leave.

Facebook said it offers four months of paid leave for new mothers and fathers. - Reuters