Nickie Aiken, Member of Parliament for the Cities of London and Westminster, has launched a campaign in Parliament to give individuals and couples undergoing fertility treatment statutory time off work.
Commenting on the launch, Nickie said,
Fertility treatment affects millions of people from all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. It is emotionally draining, costly, risky and a long process.
Undergoing treatment while juggling a career is very tough. Many people feel they cannot tell their employer for fear of being overlooked for a promotion or being made redundant. The number of people hiding it from their employer and taking sick leave is shockingly high. It’s no wonder more than a third have considered quitting their job.
This must change. Individuals and couples need the right to attend fertility appointments no matter where they work, without fear of being negatively impacted in their career. My Private Members Bill - the Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill - sets out to give individuals and couples the right to take the time off for fertility treatment, just like they would have for antenatal appointments.
Hear more about why it's so important to change the attitudes towards fertility treatment on Nickie's In Conversation podcast episode with Becky Kearns and Claire Ingle from Fertility Matters at Work and Natalie Sutherland from Burgess Mee, a law firm that helps families with fertility law.
Nickie also sat down with Anya Sizer of Fertility Network UK and racing driver, Toby Trice, who advocates for better awareness around fertility treatment. Listen to their conversation and hear more about what they had to say.
Major UK employers including Metro Bank, NatWest Group, Co-op, Channel 4, and UK Hospitality have signed up to a set of simple and voluntary commitments, designed to benefit millions of individuals and couples going through fertility treatment.
Nickie Aiken MP has joined forces with national charities and organisations to write and launch the landmark “Fertility Workplace Pledge” — it comes as 3.5 million people in the UK are struggling to conceive naturally[i], and treatment such as IVF is emotionally draining, costly, there are risks of complications, and it can be a long process.
Juggling treatment and work is very tough. Many people are forced to deal with the side effects, risk of complications, and day-to-day practicalities in silence. They feel they cannot tell their employer for fear of being overlooked for promotion, having major projects taken off them, or being made redundant. Figures show that more than a third (36%) of people going through treatment have considered quitting their job.
The Fertility Workplace Pledge consists of four steps for employers to sign up to:
- Accessible information: Having an accessible workplace fertility policy to create an open culture free from stigma; to make sure employees feel comfortable in the workplace; and to prevent the best talent from leaving.
- Awareness in the workplace: Establishing the role of Fertility Ambassador to open conversations internally and make people aware of available support.
- Staff training: Making sure line managers understand the realities of treatment for employees including the physical, mental, and financial impact — and how they can support someone going through it.
- Flexible working: Giving the right for employees to request flexible working, including reasonable working adjustments, so they can attend appointments.
Organisations that have already signed up include Aldi, Cadent, Channel 4, Co-op, Fertility Matters at Work, Fertility Network UK, Metro Bank, NatWest Group, UK Hospitality, and Zurich Insurance, as well a range of law firms, recruiters, and events companies.
Want to be a fertility-friendly employer? After you sign up by emailing Nickie at firstname.lastname@example.org, the next step is implementing policies in your workplace!
To support our #FertilityAmbassadors, Nickie has worked with the brilliant Fertility Matters at Work and Fertility Network UK who both have excellent resources and guidance on offer. For more information on what support they can provide, please visit their websites.
Fertility Matters at Work - www.fertilitymattersatwork.com
Fertility Network UK - www.fertilitynetworkuk.org
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Daily Mail - Thousands of NHS staff are given right to three days off for fertility treatment as proposed law to force employers to give women and their partners paid leave for IVF goes before Parliament