48% of employers do not have IVF policies

Almost half (48%) of employers have no official policy in place to support employees undergoing IVF treatment, according to new research, despite the fact that one in six people now require the help of a fertility expert to conceive.

A report by Cityparents, an organisation that supports working parents, and IVF provider Create Fertility, found that just 20% of employees polled were offered paid leave to undergo the treatment, while just one in seven were offered flexible working to fit around appointments and recovery time.

The survey, which aimed to explore the policies and culture with which employers approach fertility and women’s health in the workplace, collected both quantitative and qualitative data on the state of UK workplace policies for those going through reproductive health issues.

The impact of the global spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has led to an increased focus on HR and trends towards enhanced perks and support for employee mental and physical health.

However, this does not appear to have extended to women’s health, as the results revealed that only 4% of employers provide appropriate training for HR directors or line managers.

In addition, only 12% of employees were allowed time off for a miscarriage before it became a legal maternity right at 24 weeks.

Meanwhile, more than 60% of women said they would feel uncomfortable talking to a line manager or supervisor if menopausal symptoms were impacting their performance at work, and almost 90% of employers did not provide any sort of menopause policy for women.

Louisa Symington-Mills, founder and chief executive of Cityparents, explained that forward-thinking employers are focused on the attraction and retention of the best talent, and recognise the need to support their employees’ personal lives as well as their professional careers.

“This piece of research shines an important spotlight on female health issues, and while some findings are encouraging there is evidently still much progress needed around the day-to-day practical and emotional support employees need on their journeys to parenthood,” she said.