Navigating the ups and downs of fertility treatment is hard for anyone. Trying to hold down a full-time job and attend seemingly endless medical appointments in the hope of getting pregnant can be difficult to juggle and explain away to your line manager.
Here in the UK, several employers have put in place policies to support workers undergoing fertility treatment and their partners to relieve the work-related stress associated with undergoing fertility treatment. In this blog, we want to shout out five of the best fertility friendly employers, and we hope that more and more big companies follow suit and support their employees through their fertility journeys in the future.
The Co-op group
Last year the Co-op group launched its new and improved fertility leave policies for its 60,000 employees. Employees of the group will be given unrestricted paid leave for the time taken off work to attend medical appointments relating to fertility treatment. This policy extends to partners, whether same-sex or heterosexual and includes employees who are conceiving through IVF, surrogacy or otherwise.
Further good news for Co-op employees is the length of service is no barrier for this particular benefit. So it is open to new employees and those who have been with the company for many years.
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) offers fertility treatment as part of its medical insurance policy. This benefit covers up to £30,000 for IVF or other fertility treatments and includes any necessary testing and counselling. Additionally, RBS has a fertility support program, which offers employees access to fertility specialists and counselling throughout their fertility journey.
Channel 4 offers employees up to three rounds of IVF treatment through their insurance provider, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. This benefit covers not only the cost of IVF but also includes any necessary genetic testing and counselling. In addition, Channel 4 also offers unlimited leave for fertility treatment, ensuring that employees have the time to attend appointments and take much-needed rest after treatments.
Natwest has become one of the best employers in the UK for providing fertility and support to their employees. They offer employees five days off for treatment per cycle. This is in addition to paid leave as required for additional appointments. On top of that, managers are offered training to better support employees undergoing fertility treatment, adoption or baby loss.
Centrica offers their 18500 employees in the UK access to reproductive health and fertility support under their employee benefits programme. The parent company of British Gas provides an education programme and discounts on fertility treatment such as IVF, egg and sperm freezing, frozen embryo transfer, genetic testing, and donor eggs or sperm.
The energy giant also offers staff free appointments with fertility specialists and free home testing kits. Their policy was introduced to help break the taboo of infertility in the workplace, which we think is fabulous!
These are just five examples of employers in the UK that are making efforts to support their employees’ fertility journeys. By offering fertility treatment as part of their health insurance policies, providing access to fertility specialists and counselling, and offering flexible working arrangements and time off for fertility treatments, these employers are helping alleviate some of the stress of trying to conceive.
While these benefits are still relatively uncommon in the UK, it’s encouraging to see that some employers are taking steps to support their employees’ reproductive health. We hope to see a lot more fertility friendly employers taking the lead on this in 2023 and beyond! Do you have a fertility-friendly employer? Tell us about them in the comments