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Monday, February 26, 2024

Major employers to pledge help for fertility treatment

Natwest, Metro Bank and the Co-op are among major employers backing a pledge to help millions going through fertility treatment. 

MP for Cities of London and Westminster, Nickie Aiken has launched the campaign in parliament hoping it will support more than 3.5 million who can’t conceive naturally.

The Fertility Workplace Pledge will help families who require treatments like IVF which is a long process, whilst also giving companies a clear route to becoming a #fertilityambassador and protecting their employees.

More than a third of people undergoing fertility treatment have considered quitting their job. Many feel they cannot tell their employer for fear of being overlooked for a promotion or being made redundant, leading to a “shockingly high” number simply taking sick leave or hiding it from their employers.

Four steps for employers

The new pledge will give employers four simple steps to follow including accessible information about fertility, awareness in the workplace, staff training and more on flexible working. 

With a substantial number of people going through fertility treatment, the pledge has been backed by major employers including banks, law firms, supermarkets and charities. 

“It’s unacceptable in today’s day and age that the issue is still taboo in the workplace and in society in general,” Ms Aiken said.

“Not only are employees having to deal with multiple cycles, side effects and complications in silence, I’ve heard of women injecting themselves in the toilets at work, just so their bosses or colleagues don’t find out.”

“Economic sense”

She said the pledges make economic sense as companies “will improve their workplace culture and the wellbeing of their staff”, thereby also reducing sick days. 

She also believes the plans will reduce retention rates and reduce turnover with no unnecessary burden on the business.

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