EXCLUSIVE: Adobe suggests further education on fertility-related stresses for staff is needed

Employee Benefits 2022: More work on the stresses and strains of fertility is needed for employees, according to Laura Jackson, physical wellbeing manager at Adobe (pictured).

Sharon Midwinter, benefits and wellbeing lead at Natwest Group, and Lorne Grove, health, wellbeing and engagement adviser at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, also took part in the panel discussion titled ‘Menopause, fertility and pregnancy – Why support reproductive health through the workplace’.

Jackson explained that while Adobe has successfully introduced a cap of up to £15,000 for support with IVF costs, more education on the physical and mental health aspects of fertility would be beneficial for employees.

Meanwhile, Midwinter pointed out that menopause is more widely talked about these days, with those experiencing the condition in a fast growing demographic. “If we don’t support people going through it, we can’t expect them to bring their best self to work,” she said. “We don’t want people to feel alone, so have introduced resources, apps and networks to support staff. Natwest offers GP services through its employee assistance programme and use Peppy as a provider for menopause support.”

She added that as part of its recognition that fertility issues are a very difficult thing for staff to go through, Natwest is currently piloting fertility pathway support as part of its flexible benefits offering and is monitoring staff take up, with employees’ experiences guiding this.

On the topic of pregnancy, Grove explained that the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust runs a new parent network to discuss issues and provides those going on maternity leave with a new parent pack so they know what support is available to them.

“Experiences can help to shape and influence stakeholders’ decisions and the resulting policies. We have non-executive directors on the senior leadership team and our wellbeing champions, who are scattered across all levels of the trust, have done a lot of work on fertility and pregnancy issues,” he said.

Midwinter concluded the panel by stating that it is important to encourage an understanding and inclusive workforce, while Jackson added that a robust case is needed in order to secure the budget to address these three topics in the workforce.