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23 May 2024
by Jo Gallacher

Change on the horizon for workplace fertility support

The Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill will change employee rights when it comes to pregnancy loss 

Change on the horizon for workplace fertility support.jpg


Employers need to prepare for the Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill, expected to be passed into law this year, says Francesca Steyn, chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Fertility Nursing Forum. 

However, this may now change given the upcoming general election on 4 July.

Speaking on the Using family-forming benefits to improve inclusion and employee retention REBA webinar in partnership with Peppy, on 28 February, Steyn said: “If it is passed, which looks likely, it will be mandatory for employers to have flexible working policies in place for people undergoing fertility treatment. 

“Not just IVF, but any type of fertility treatment, so things like surrogacy and donation will be included in that policy.

“It is well documented about what’s required, but this will come into play and will show that we do need to support those on their fertility journey.” 

Since February 2024, those who suffer pregnancy loss under 24 weeks gestation in England will be able to receive a baby loss certificate. 

This certificate cannot be used for time off work but provides bereaved parents with the opportunity to recognise their experience more formally.

It was one of the commitments in the government’s response to the independent Pregnancy Loss Review, published in July 2023. 

Steyn added: “The certificate was one of the first things that came out of the Pregnancy Loss Review, which looks to implement strategies and ways to support those going through pregnancy loss.

“One of the recommendations in the report was that employers [should] take on more of a roll to support those who have miscarried or gone through pregnancy loss. So we can expect more changes in this area, and employers need to be prepared for them.”

Steyn also urged employers to also think about their role in wider family forming benefits. 

She added: “Family can be obtained in many ways for many people and it’s important to ensure these people are included. The government is behind making this mandatory and supporting employees with these areas of their lives.” 

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