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Californians Will Now Have a Third Gender Option – What does that Mean for HR Pros?

Californians Will Now Have a Third Gender Option – What does that Mean for HR Pros?
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 by Bruce Gillis
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Last week I provided an AE compliance checklist to help you prepare for the busy upcoming months.

The-Gender-Recognition-ActOne of those items was reviewing the nonbinary gender option for your organization. Today, I’d like to dive a bit deeper into that particular compliance issue. 

Third gender recognition next month  

California SB-179 – The Gender Recognition Act, will go into effect next month and we want to make sure you are fully prepared. As a recap, the act allows California residents to get a driver’s license and/or birth certificate that indicates their gender as male, female, or nonbinary. California joins Oregon as the pioneering states to permit a “third gender,” so to speak, on official identification documents. 

How will you move forward?  

What does this mean to you? Your organization needs to determine now how you will move forward with the gender options. However, once you decide, be aware that the “answer” is not black and white. While you as an organization may be ready to accept the nonbinary gender in your records, your carriers may not. 

Start planning the “why” now 

In a recent survey we sent to our carrier partners, 50% were prepared to accept a third gender option and 20% were considering it as part of their roadmap. That still leaves over 25% who are not prepared and unsure whether they will accept a third gender option for their plans.  

As part of your preparations, it’s important to reach out to your carriers now to determine what gender options they will accept on your files to ensure that coverage continues for all of your participants uninterrupted.  

Additionally, once your organization has decided whether or not to move forward with a third gender option, it’s extremely important to have communication plans in place for why you are or are not accepting the third gender. You should anticipate calls from employees who are looking to make a change to their gender as shown on their legal documents and your benefits team or support reps need to be prepared to have effective conversations with those individuals. 

Next steps 

Lastly, keep in mind that this goes beyond benefits. Our Senior VP of Engagement, Marcy Klipfel, recently wrote an article for Forbes detailing four strategies to help companies maintain workplaces that are inclusive of nonbinary-gender employees. 

  1. Educate management on updated policies and procedures. 
  2. Ensure employees understand diversity and practice inclusive behaviors. 
  3. Be aware of potential biases in recruitment and hiring. 
  4. Update benefits offerings to be inclusive of gender identity and expression, as well as sexual orientation. 

Don’t have employees based out of California? That doesn’t mean this won’t apply to you soon! More and more states are considering similar legislation and many companies are choosing to proactively move forward.  

Here at Businessolver, we are prepared to accept a third gender option within our Benefitsolver platform and have experts in place to help navigate this complex compliance issue.  

If you have more questions than answers, don’t hesitate to contact us, we can help! 

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Bruce Gillis Head of Compliance Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet. View All Posts