Bank of England – Winner 2022, Best for Supporting Fertility and Pathways to Parenthood
The Bank of England is determined in their work to break down the stigma surrounding fertility challenges and baby loss through awareness raising and underpinned by robust policy and extensive support.
From day one, all employees are entitled to up to four weeks paid leave to help deal with the death of a child under the age of 18, stillbirth or pregnancy loss at any stage. Employees are eligible if they or their partner are the biological parents, foster parents or intended parent under a surrogacy arrangement.
Health-related absence is supported, and Occupational Health are available to support managers with medical advice on absence and return to work, for example phased return over a number of weeks after a pregnancy loss related absence. Occupational sick pay is contractual and goes far beyond the minimum Statutory Sick Pay by offering 12 months full pay and benefits in a rolling 18-month period, with a Group Income Protection policy offering 50% salary beyond that up to two years of absence.
Additional support available
To help employees facing fertility struggles, the Bank of England has developed a Fertility Toolkit, which collates useful information such as leave options and flexible working into a hub providing practical advice and support. The Toolkit is designed to raise awareness and offer support, in particular a section for managers includes practical advice on supporting employees and external support available.
A number of wellbeing services are available to access fertility and family planning. An internal medical fund, which is funded by staff who join, can assist with the cost of private treatment, and an onsite medical unit with a GP with a special interest in fertility has provided webinars. The Employee Assistance Programme provides immediate support to both employees and their partners from a trained counsellor who can refer for additional sessions.
Events held for Baby Loss Awareness Week and Fertility Awareness Week help to open dialogue to combat stigma as well as support staff. Employee experience is shared through blogs on internal social media, and podcasts.
Employee networks provide an important source of support. The Parents+ Network is involved with awareness raising, including talks from specialists in fertility, podcasts, and internal panels where colleagues shared their own experiences. The Fertility and Baby Loss group arranges various events such as coffee hours for people to share experiences, supported by an in-house counsellor to safeguard employees. This ensures that conversations are safe and follow up counselling sessions are available if needed. A Peer Support network, with trained volunteers offer listening and can signposting to relevant services.
This guest award was sponsored by Fertifa.