A new Co-op policy means all employees will be able to take paid time off for fertility treatments.

Shirine Khoury-Haq, CEO of the group that owns funeral homes and supermarkets, stated that she has undergone fertility treatment herself and wants to create a supportive environment for her employees.

Staff will be granted paid leave for medical appointments under the policy.

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The policy includes those undergoing fertility treatment, including staff who use a surrogate.

The retailer confirmed that the time off is flexible and unrestricted because the company cannot predict what people will require.

While the measures also include paid leave for up to ten appointments per cycle

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This is up to three cycles of fertility treatment for partners accompanying those going to appointments for fertility treatment.

Khoury-Haq said: “Having gone through all of this myself, I felt very lucky to be in a supportive professional environment; however, this isn’t always the case for so many people.”

The paid support is available to anyone, according to Co-op, which employs approximately 60,000 people.

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It makes no difference how long they have worked at Co-op or how many hours they have worked.

Employees currently do not have the legal right to take paid leave for fertility treatment in the same way that they do for antenatal appointments like scans and health checks.

Employers, on the other hand, should treat IVF appointments and any related sickness the same as any other medical appointment or sickness, according to Acasl.

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The charities Fertility Matters at Work and Surrogacy UK have backed the initiative, arguing that more inclusive and supportive professional environments are needed.

Khoury-Haq said: “It is incredibly difficult to navigate through fertility treatment while balancing work and the wider impact it has on your life. Sadly, in some cases, there is also the need to manage the physical and emotional impact of failed cycles and even pregnancy loss.

“The decision to discuss this with your employer is an incredibly difficult and personal one. However, by creating a supportive environment companies can go a long way in opening the conversation with colleagues and easing the stress that people in this situation often feel. Having gone through all of this myself, I felt very lucky to be in a supportive professional environment; however, this isn’t always the case for so many people.

“I feel very proud that the Co-op is leading the way in launching a fertility policy and supporting our colleagues at a time when they need it most.”

Co-op has an existing policy that means employees affected by pregnancy loss are eligible for full paid leave if they cannot access either maternity or parental bereavement leave.

Source: Retail Gazette

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