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Published: 26 Jun 2024

HSBC – Finalist 2024, Supporting Different Pathways to Parenthood, sponsored by Adoption UK

HSBC recognise that journeys to parenthood can be challenging and so have implemented measures to support their people in times of need, and are raising awareness to get ‘comfortable with the uncomfortable’ and ensure no-one feels alone. 

Policy support 

HSBC ensure all parents have equal entitlements by matching adoption and surrogacy policies to maternity, meaning any new parent with over 40 weeks continuous service can benefit from 26 weeks full pay and 52 weeks leave. Shared parental leave enables secondary caregivers to share the enhanced entitlements. Employees undergoing fertility treatment are entitled to 12 days paid leave per year to attend consultations and treatments, available for both parents. Paid leave to attend appointments or assessments is provided throughout the adoption or surrogacy process, regardless of service length or whether the parent is the primary or secondary adopter. Line managers are equipped to support their teams through guidance documents developed in collaboration with charity providers covering a range of pathways. Flexible working arrangements can enable employees the time and space needed whilst undergoing their fertility treatments. Policies have been adapted to use inclusive language in order to reflect all pathways and encompass the wide scope of experience.  

Baby loss 

Parents and partners of birth, surrogacy or adoption suffering baby loss after 24 weeks of pregnancy are entitled to 10 days paid parental bereavement leave. There is a recognition that everyone responds differently and so there is flexibility as to when leave is taken, up to a year after the loss. Managers discretion for compassionate leave is used for pregnancy complications or miscarriages before 24 weeks. For stillborn babies after 24 weeks of pregnancy, enhanced maternity leave and pay provisions apply. Employees are eligible for the BUPA Employee Assistance Programme and return to work adjustments following a loss or fertility-related treatments. Recurrent miscarriage investigations are BUPA funded.  

Wide-ranging support 

Support is broad and is aimed to meet the needs of the individual. Free Parental Transition Coaching (PTC) is available, as well as free private mental health counselling. A wellbeing hub signposts support and trained mental health first aiders can provide peer support. A dedicated Employee Resource Group (ERG) supports people on their journeys to parenthood in various ways including a bespoke programme of 35 patrons providing confidential one-to-one support through listening and sharing experiences of different family pathways, a SharePoint site providing easily accessible, digestible information on each pathway, and podcasts and vodcasts which cover challenging topics such as IUI, endometriosis, surrogacy for single sex couples, egg and sperm donation, still birth, termination for medical reasons, and male partner perspectives. 

Employee events vary from weekly safe spaces to discuss experiences through to larger events in support of baby loss and fertility awareness, as well as life without living children and mental and financial wellbeing specific to family pathways. Men have a dedicated community of support, and the ERG is sponsored by a male executive, bringing a much-needed spotlight and openness to support the 33% male infertility rate and men’s mental health. HSBC has received menopause and endometriosis friendly accreditation and signed Fertility Workplace and Pregnancy Loss Pledges to demonstrate their commitment to supporting their people.