Cornwall Council has become a fertility-friendly employer after receiving accreditation from Fertility Matters at Work.
The council was accredited after partnering with and undertaking training provided by Fertility Matters at Work, and as a result of its inclusive and dedicated policy, which outlines guidance on how those experiencing fertility challenges can talk to managers and how they can best support people seeking advice.
Over the past year, the employer has implemented initiatives including quarterly fertility cafes, where staff can share their experiences with peers. This was an employee-led initiative championed by Joanna Sloman, the co-ordinator of the Women’s Forum Family Friendly Policy sub-group at Cornwall Council, who has driven the support and guidance implementation for employees.
Council staff are now also entitled to unlimited paid time off for all fertility-related appointments and procedures, as well as bereavement leave for pregnancy loss. Alongside this, the council will accommodate practical needs at work, such as providing a fridge to store IVF medication if required.
Councillor Linda Taylor, leader of Cornwall Council, said: “We hope that by Cornwall Council having well-publicised fertility-focused policies and a range of other support for staff experiencing fertility concerns, people will get the treatment they need when they need it. We also hope that having fertility friendly processes in place means that employees feel well supported to stay in work; reducing sickness leave, and ultimately helping retain staff – our most valuable asset.
“Employees should never feel that they have to choose between undergoing treatment and what might be convenient for their jobs and employers. We hope that by having fertility friendly policies and being accredited as a fertility-friendly employer, we’re attractive to people looking at our vacancies. Being fertility friendly sends a clear message that Cornwall Council is committed to supporting you if you need fertility treatment.”