Planning for the future– how should employers plan for the Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill?
The Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill is currently going through Parliament.
What does the proposed legislation entail?
Why is the Bill needed?
In 2019, a study by the Embryo Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, showed that 53,000 patients underwent treatment for IVF.
According to NHS data from 2019, 32% of women had successful IVF treatment under 35% whilst this decreased to 11% for women aged 40.
This process is therefore difficult for employees mentally, physically and financially.
However, according to the Fertility Network UK, 55% of employees who are either undergoing fertility treatment or who suffer from fertility issues say that they do not receive enough support from employers.
This consequently leads to high amount of absences as well as performance issues.
Potential impact on employers
Employers will need to be prepared for the fact that there will be employees who may require this type of leave.
Depending on the amount of treatment cycles, employers will need to consider having in place cover for employees who are attending or are accompanying someone with whom they have a qualifying relationship to a fertility treatment appointment.
Care must be also taken to maintain confidentiality once an employer becomes aware of the fact that an employee is undergoing fertility treatment and/or an employee is with someone who is undergoing fertility treatment.
Moreover, employers should take care not to penalise employees who take time off to attend fertility treatment appointments or accompany someone, with whom they have a qualifying relationship to a fertility treatment appointment.
What is the current stage of the Bill in Parliament?
The Bill is currently receiving its second reading at the House of Commons. It is a Private Members’ Bill and it is not known whether this will become law or when it will become law. However, employers need to be aware that this employment law change could be on the horizon.
What is the current legal position in relation to IVF treatment?
What can employers currently do to assist employees who are undergoing fertility treatment?
Indeed many employers have signed up to the Fertility Workplace Pledge which involves carrying out many of the above measures.
If you require further guidance on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact the Employment team at Lupton Fawcett.
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