Its Fertility Awareness Week, and according to new research, thirty-one percent of employers have no plans to offer fertility support.
Conversely, 39% of employers have either always had employee benefits in place that support staff with their reproductive health, or have put them in place in the past 12 months, but that leaves a significant number of employees without adequate support for their fertility journey now.
The research was undertaken during September 2022 by digital health app, Peppy. Ultimately findings suggest this approach may have a detrimental impact on an employer’s ability to both attract and retain staff of child-bearing age, as well as reflect poorly on their overall brand.
Francesca Steyn, Director of Fertility & Women’s Health Services of Peppy, comments on the troubling findings:
Up until recently, there has been very little support available for employers to offer people on a fertility journey but when one in six people in the UK2 are affected it’s very much needed. Employers need to recognise that they must be on the front foot when it comes to supporting employees in this area.
Francesca Steyn, Director of Fertility & Women’s Health Services
What is workplace fertility support?
Workplace fertility support can cover many areas, including IVF, family planning and adoption through to conditions such as endometriosis that can affect fertility.
Francesca Steyn continued:
Employees who are affected by fertility issues can find it hard to carry on as normal. Side effects of treatment, changes in lifestyle, a reluctance or inability to socialise, fatigue and anxiety can weigh heavily on staff, as can the relentless appointments in numerous healthcare settings.
Why is workplace fertility support important?
Fertility issues can wreak havoc on the lives of individual employees and become all-consuming physically and emotionally when their journey doesn’t go to plan. The result is that employees can become distracted, depressed and isolated, which can also potentially make them less productive. Being supported lifts that burden and can also engender loyalty and engagement in the long term. It also helps companies recruit and retain this important demographic, saving the cost and disruption of finding and training new people.
Francesca Steyn concluded:
Such is the overwhelming and all-consuming nature of many fertility issues that employees may feel they are unable to remain in the workplace: whether they choose to do so will often boil down to how supported they feel.
Employers who provide genuine family-friendly support from fertility through to birth and beyond, and help their staff feel confident and comfortable discussing these issues will create a caring and inclusive environment – one in which staff are more likely to want to return to after starting their family.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.