WASHINGTON (CAP) - A new law which permits employers to withhold contraception coverage based on worker performance has been embraced by a majority of companies.
"Our receptionist occasionally arrives to work five or ten minutes late," said Mike Walsh, CEO of a Virginia law firm that is in favor of the legislation. "We're pretty sure it's because she's out partying until all hours, screwing everyone in sight to take advantage of our endless supply of birth control.
"Well, maybe she'll think twice about it now that we can take it away," Walsh added as he chomped on a cigar. "You want your pills, honey? Then be a good girl and show up on time."
Walsh pointed out that one of his top-performing partners, Lauren Willis, was being rewarded for working long hours to bring in additional business. "We told her that thanks to her hard work, she was now eligible for coverage of the hormone-based birth control of her choice," he said. "If she keeps it up, we may even throw in a screening for cervical cancer."
Since the law allows employers to oversee the contraception methods provided to female employees, companies are now able to be better informed about workers' personal relationships.
"Monica must have been using condoms for the last two years she's worked here," said Ryan Donahue, head of operations at an accounting firm in Georgia. "But when she recently filed a petition with HR to be approved for a diaphragm, we knew things must have gotten serious with someone.
"We told her that as long as her performance doesn't suffer once she's on this new method, we'll support the transition," Donahue added. "Just between us, I told her I'd love to help her get fitted for that new diaphragm."
Employee unions have condemned merit-based contraception, claiming that it violates women's privacy by requiring them to disclose personal health information to their employers, which often gives managers a role in making decisions many say should not involve them.
Dawn Wyman, an ad executive at a small firm in Des Moines, Iowa, noticed that her reproductive goals are now being discussed by her supervisors, along with her career goals.
"Management said they'd like to see me have at least one child in the next three years," she recently told CAP News. "They told me, Dawn, you're not getting any younger. Take advantage of those child-bearing hips and pop out a kid or two. Your career can wait."
Wyman sighed. "They told me they'd stop covering my Depo shot after the next year to show they meant business. I guess I'd better start preparing for motherhood."
Employers have already begun lobbying for the ability to base maternity leave coverage on job performance as well, claiming that it is unreasonable for workers to expect to receive weeks of paid time off after giving birth without first earning the privilege.
Thanks to current contraceptive policies, resolution of this issue is expected to reach critical importance approximately nine months from now.
- Molly Schoemann