HSBC – Finalist 2023, Best for supporting fertility and pathways to parenthood
HSBC recognise that each journey to parenthood is unique and can be unpredictable, and so go over-and-above to ensure employees have avenues of support when they need it most, and to help bridge the inequalities gap of support.
Fertility and loss
Employees undergoing fertility treatment are entitled to up to 12 days paid leave per year to attend consultations and treatments, available for both parents. Due to fertility treatment varying in time, Occupational Health supports helps to determine how much additional time off for individuals may need. Additional leave is also available at the line manager’s discretion. Flexible working arrangements are available to give employees time and space needed whilst undergoing fertility treatment as well as mental health counselling or any related therapy that needs to take place during working hours. Adoption and surrogacy leave matches the provisions of enhanced parental leave of up to 52 weeks with 26 weeks full pay, available for those with 40 weeks of continuous service.
Parents and partners suffering a loss after 24 weeks of pregnancy are entitled to two weeks paid parental bereavement leave within the 56-week period following the loss. Parents include birth, surrogate and adoptive parent and parental leave and pay provisions still apply. For pregnancy complications and miscarriage before 24 weeks, leave can be given as sickness absence, parental bereavement or compassionate leave. Flexibility around when the leave is taken is also considered, recognising that everyone responds differently. Compassionate leave is also available for close relatives.
Private mental health counselling is fully funded and available to everyone through the Employment Assistance Programme, as is recurrent miscarriage investigations and a return-to-work programme following a loss or fertility-related treatment. Podcasts have been produced featuring colleague experiences around IUI, endometriosis, surrogacy for single sex couples, egg and sperm donation, still birth, termination for medical reasons and male partners perspectives. A Vodcast (video podcast) was also released to discuss egg freezing and the journey after.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) provide a support network and community for anyone on the journey to parenthood, with easily accessible guidance and resources to inform their respective pathways. A programme of 20 patrons provide one-to-one support by listening to and sharing experiences. Employee events vary from weekly ‘Time to Talk’ sessions to larger Baby Loss and Fertility Awareness events. Events covers life without living children and mental and financial wellbeing specific to the parenthood journey which helps drive culture change and break taboos, and helps employees feel supported. Partnerships with charities such as the bank workers’ charity, Fertility Network UK and the Daisy Network enable collaborations on supportive initiatives, such as panel sessions and tailored guidance for line managers to support their teams.