Accounting organisation PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has announced it will allow its employees to take paid time off to undergo fertility treatments from next month (1 July).
The new policy will enable these members of staff to take eight days of paid leave for fertility consultations and appointments. Those whose partners are having fertility treatment will be entitled to two days of paid leave to provide support.
Employees may combine fertility leave – which can be taken by employees of any gender – with other types of leave if required, such as holiday days, medical appointments, unpaid leave and sickness leave.
Sally Cosgrove, a partner at PWC, explained that it is quite common for people going through such experiences to feel lonely, adding it can be “such a rollercoaster of hope, treatment and then disappointment”.
“It can really take its toll on your wellbeing. It’s not something we openly discuss – especially in the workplace. It’s one of those issues that feels taboo to talk about,” she said.
According to Sarah Churchman, PWC’s UK head of diversity, inclusion and wellbeing, the policy will be put in place in response to feedback from employees in order to help to build awareness within the business about fertility. It will be implemented alongside additional support measures, such as a new fertility support network.
She explained that staff feedback also showed that at the moment employees’ number one ask of the organisation was around time off work when needed, and workplace pastoral support.
“Undergoing fertility treatment can be a deeply personal and challenging time for individuals, with many finding it has a negative impact on their mental health. Our own employees have signalled the significant impact of fertility treatment on wellbeing – and the extent to which this can be influenced by how their employer responds,” Churchman said.