Respondents called for increased access to ‘special leave’ when undergoing fertility treatment
A new survey carried out by Sims IVF has identified that 79% of respondents do not feel adequately supported in their workplace when undergoing fertility treatment.
Of this number, 30% of respondents reported that their workplace has no supports in place and that fertility is not an encouraged topic of conversation amongst colleagues and management.
Concerningly, an additional 32% of employees have no knowledge of the supports available to them from their employer.
35% of employees indicated they would not tell their boss or manager if they were undergoing fertility treatment or planning to start a family.
The respondents, who were primarily female (97%), reported being hesitant to approach their male managers, having a fear of stigma and concerns over the potential impact on promotion and career progression.
Commenting on the survey results, Mikey O’Brien, Group Director of Nursing and Clinical Services at Sims IVF, said: “While there has been an increase in the public conversation about fertility through the media and on social media, in many cases individuals and couples are still reluctant to speak to their employers and colleagues about their fertility journey. Open conversations about fertility should be encouraged in the workplace and these survey results show there is a need for better communication from management and HR about workplace policies supporting and facilitating treatment.”
When asked about how employers and managers could better support their employees, survey respondents highlighted the need for additional fertility-related leave. Additionally, employees advocated for the need for open discussions regarding fertility at work and increased communication from management and HR about the existing supports in place.
Mikey O’Brien continued: “A large number of survey respondents reported difficulties about taking time-off for appointments and treatment. At present, many employees are forced to take annual leave or sick leave to attend appointments, testing and treatments.”
45% of survey respondents find it easier to attend fertility appointments due to remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic, due to flexibility arranging appointments and less time spent commuting.
The survey was carried out online in March 2021, there were 866 respondents to the survey.