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Posted: 23rd September 2021
We’re exploring introducing paid time off for employees going through fertility treatment, but finding it difficult to know exactly how much time to offer. Having spoken to a couple of employees who have gone through this, I understand it can vary and it will likely be hours needed at a time as opposed to full days/ weeks. I just wondered whether anyone else offered paid time off and how much so I could get a feel for the average that’s offered. And whether you specify what those hours/ days are for?
There’s a massive education piece that is needed as well as to how we can best support employees going through this, so looking to produce some support materials for managers. If anyone has anything that they’d be willing to share, I’d greatly appreciate it! Thanks, Jodie
Hi Jodie, we have just introduced this and offered up to 10 paid appointments, whether that’s full or part days. We received feedback, especially from same sex couples that 10 days is just not enough, but we wanted to start somewhere. I work in higher education. In my last place of work, retail, we offered 10 appointments too. That’s 10 appointments per 12-month period. Further appointments would be unpaid, hours rearranged or use of holidays. Great that you’re looking at it! Kate
I’m so interested in this too, so following.
As a HR Manager going through fertility treatments myself, this is so heartwarming that there are employers around who consider this stuff so important. I’m lucky that in Australia (where i work) that i have paid personal leave (sick leave etc) that i can use for these appointments, and i have a good bank of it saved up.
I’m also fortunate that so far, the appointments themselves have been planned well in advance to take the leave, and the regular monitoring (ultrasounds and blood tests every 3-5 days) have been first thing in the morning so i’m only an hour late to work and I can stay back later if i need to. My boss has been incredibly kind and flexible with me as well which is more than i could ask for.
The hardest thing i’ve found is not so much the time off work for appointments as is it working with the unplannable stuff such as illness/reactions from the medications or early pregnancy or unfortunate miscarriage. I had a 3 day period a couple of weeks ago where the hormones were making me cry at the drop of a hat and it was affecting my ability to have difficult conversations, and I was trying to manage tasks accordingly, which affects those around me. It’s THAT sort of stuff that is so much harder than just shifting things around to have a blood test at 9am.
I look forward to seeing what you come up with. This stuff is really hard and the support makes an incredible impact on making the process and emotions that little bit easier to deal with.
Very interested in this thread. My 15 year fertility journey is over. Although I now speak openly about it, throughout the journey my employer wasn’t aware – I found it was a very private matter and very difficult to discuss, so wonder if others would be the same? (may just be me!) Are you considering ensuring the time off granted is labelled quite generically to ensure discretion for those who need/want it. This could be for the purposes of applying for it as well as taking it. So emotive, I will follow with interest!
Hi Kate, thanks for sharing this. I think the language is important – so saying 10 appointments is better than translating that into days as from the conversations I’ve had to date, it doesn’t seem like each appointment would be a full day. That’s helpful, thank you.
We have recently sent a draft Fertility Leave policy out to staff for feedback and proposed a total of 5 days paid leave, to be broken down as they need it. In addition, we have also offered 2 days paid leave for accompanying partners.
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