Time Off For Fertility Treatment
The Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill
Paid Time Off For Fertility Treatment. A Private Members Bill passing through parliament will, if passed into law, give employees the statutory right to take paid time off for fertility treatment appointments.
According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority around 60,000 people in the UK use fertility services each year. However, research published last month by the Fertility Network UK found that 55% of employees going through fertility treatment, or experiencing fertility issues, do not receive adequate support from their employers. And only 25% of those surveyed believed that their employer had implemented a supportive workplace policy. These statistics are a key indicator that it is time for new legislative measures.
The Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill (‘the Bill’) has been introduced in Parliament. The Bill would require employers to allow an employee to take paid time off work to attend fertility treatment appointments. In addition, an employee who has a “qualifying relationship” with a person receiving fertility treatment would be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the person to the appointments.
An employee would have the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by their employer in connection with their right to take time off work to attend fertility treatment appointments. If an employee is dismissed for attending these appointments, it would be regarded as an unfair dismissal.
A Bill which focuses on these issues is overdue. Other countries have been more forward thinking in their approach to supporting employees experiencing fertility problems. For example, Malta has adopted fertility legislation allowing 100 hours of paid leave for couples undergoing IVF – 60 hours for the woman and 40 for the partner. Whether the UK Parliament supports the Bill will be clearer following the second reading which is due to take place on 25 November 2022.
Employee Handbook Compliance Package