A proposed new law in the UK will give employees going through fertility treatments statutory time off work
Under the new law, IVF treatments would be classified the same way as antenatal appointments.
Currently, the roughly 8,000 employees of NHS England and NHS Improvement both provide up to three days off a year specifically for fertility treatment.
Tory MP Nickie Aiken proposed the new law, which will mandate all companies to give both hopeful parents dedicated time off for fertility treatments. Many employees elect to undergo IVF and other fertility treatments in secrecy rather than face scrutiny at work. This new regulation could help them feel more supported.
According to Aiken, “undergoing treatment while juggling a career is very tough. Many people feel they cannot tell their employer for fear of being overlooked for a promotion or being made redundant.”
New Time Off Law Could Help Those Dealing with Infertility
Becky Kearns, co-founder of Fertility Matters at Work, is optimistic about this new law and hopes it will give people “permission to talk to their employer about going through treatment (if they choose to) rather than feeling like they have to hide it.”
“We know from our research that 61.1% did not feel confident talking to their employer about trying for a baby. Many fear that there will be an impact to their career in asking for time off to attend appointments and so a law in place to give a statutory right and protection against unfair treatment will help them to know that this is recognised by their employer.”
Many people still see IVF as a lifestyle choice, even though the World Health Organisation describes infertility as a “disease of the reproductive system.” Therefore, this new law could help take the burden off of patients as they go through the difficulty of IVF. Currently, patients have to take lots of time off to attend many appointments, most of which are unpredictable until the last minute.
Kearns continues, “from my own personal experience, taking time off for fertility appointments felt very different to when I finally became pregnant and was ‘allowed’ by law the right to attend antenatal appointments.”
“It not being recognised or even allowed within many organisations creates additional stress and burden on top of an already emotionally draining process. This law would mean that over time fertility appointments would also be expected, accepted and acknowledged as a statutory right.”
Working from home has made it easier for many people to attend their fertility treatment appointments. However, some companies are now mandating a return to the office. That means it will, once again, be harder to get time off work for the required doctor’s visits.
The stress and anxiety of fertility treatments could be relieved by understanding employers and paid time off.
Have you dealt with stress and worry when trying to juggle fertility treatments and your work schedule? If so, what do you think about this proposed law? Comment below or share your thoughts with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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