London-based law firm Howard Kennedy has introduced policies for employees affected by pregnancy loss and experiencing fertility investigations or treatment.
The firm, which employs more than 50 partners and 350 members of staff, launched its pregnancy loss initiative this month to coincide with Baby Loss Awareness Week (9-15 October), which was designed to provide emotional and practical support for each employee’s circumstances. It will offer up to 10 days of paid leave, as well as provide further leave and flexible working options if required, to allow for a gradual transition back into work.
In addition, Howard Kennedy has reminded staff about its fertility leave policy that was introduced earlier this year, which provides guidance when undertaking fertility treatment and offers paid time off for those receiving or recovering from it, as well as to employees supporting a partner through it despite there being no statutory right to time off work.
According to the firm, it offers flexible working and paid leave options for fertility treatment medical appointments. If an employee is unwell due to this, they will be entitled to take sickness absence leave. Information will be given out to members of staff who want to support their peers through both of these circumstances.
Furthermore, these expanded policies follow the organisation’s launch of its new agile working policies last month (September), which it hopes will enable greater employee flexibility while also ensuring productivity is not affected.
Irena Molloy, executive director at Howard Kennedy, explained that the firm understands the sensitive personal circumstances involved in both policies, and respects that some employees may not wish to discuss their circumstances with their manager.
“While some firms may have catch-all policies, we hope that the introduction of these standalone policies will enable us to be there for our people as they encounter these difficult and personal challenges,” she said.