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Published: 20 Jun 2023

Nationwide – Winner 2023, Best for Supporting Fertility and Pathways to Parenthood

Nationwide are the gold standard in supporting pathways to parenthood by creating an inclusive and supportive culture which recognises the need for personalised support through a range of measures and robust policies that meet individual needs. 

Adoption and surrogacy 

The ‘Becoming a Parent’ policy details specialised leave for fertility, fostering, adoption and surrogacy. Employees can take up to 52 weeks adoption leave regardless of length of service, plus reasonable paid time off work to attend adoption appointments. In addition to maternity, paternity and shared parental leave, an extra period of paid leave is available for any employee, regardless of service, whose baby arrives before the 37th week. For mothers or primary parents, the number of weeks and days the baby was born before the 37th week is added to the end of the maternity or adoption leave, and for fathers or partners, up to four weeks paid leave can be taken to support family. Managers are empowered to utilise leave policies at their discretion to support employees on their journey.  

Fertility and loss 

Employees undergoing fertility treatment are entitled to five days per year and additional paid leave for routine appointments as required. The Becoming a Parent policy includes miscarriage and stillbirth. Employees can take up to twenty days paid bereavement leave which can be taken anytime within the following 56 weeks, either in blocks or individual days, and can be extended at managers discretion. If a baby is stillborn or dies after the 24th week, parents are still entitled to take parental leave and pay. Training through SANDS, Miscarriage Association and Fertility Network UK has been provided for 487 managers and HR Staff, enabling them to support teams appropriately.  

Additional support  

Bespoke support is available through Partnerships with Fertility Network UK. An Employee Assistance Programme provides support from trained counsellors to both employees and partners who can be referred for additional sessions. Occupational Health are available to guide managers with medical advice on absence and return to work after a pregnancy-loss-related absence. A comprehensive hub is a one-stop-shop for information and support. Support around mental wellbeing can be accessed through the Mental Health First Aider network, as well as through an independent and confidential digital platform.  

A network of support  

Regular surveys give employees a voice. The Baby Loss and Fertility Network was set up in response to feedback that identified a gap in available resources and support. The network raises awareness, tackles challenging topics such as the impact on mental health and drives change to provide better support and resources through educating line managers. Peer support comes in the form of monthly support groups and a chat forum for members. A buddy scheme connects members with someone that has lived experience. Specialised events and talks and drop-in sessions tackle a wide range of topics and there is collaboration with the LGBTQ+ Network to support full inclusivity. The network provides coaching and resources, alongside expert-led and ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions where peers can ask questions and share real life experiences. The network has been able to reach employees through podcast discussions on IVF and Nationwide’s social media, which helps publicise Nationwide as a fertility friendly employer.  

Graphic for the Best for supporting fertility and pathways to parenthood category of the Working Families Best practice Awards