In a revealing survey conducted by Pregnant Then Screwed, the pressing issue of support for parents in the workplace has come to light, uncovering startling gaps in policies that affect employees undergoing fertility treatment and facing pregnancy loss.

The survey, which gathered responses from 260 HR Managers, sheds light on the lack of comprehensive policies that address these crucial aspects of employees’ lives.

The survey’s standout finding is that a staggering 67 percent of HR Managers do not have a fertility treatment policy in place within their organisations.

This lack of support for employees navigating the challenging journey of fertility treatment has raised concerns about workplace inclusivity and care for employees during their most vulnerable moments.

Furthermore, the data reveals that only a mere 9.6 percent of HR Managers expressed satisfaction with the current level of support their organisations offer to employees undergoing fertility treatment.

This lack of endorsement from HR professionals highlights the pressing need for a comprehensive reevaluation of workplace policies to ensure the well-being and equitable treatment of all employees.

What about training?

Another concerning statistic is that merely 10 percent of HR Managers provide resources or training to line managers to assist them in managing reproductive health issues in the workplace. This gap in training potentially contributes to the inadequate support systems in place for employees facing fertility-related challenges.

The survey also delved into policies concerning pregnancy loss. Alarmingly, only 33.5 percent of HR Managers reported having a pregnancy loss policy within their organisations. This finding raises questions about the level of emotional and logistical support available to employees during one of the most distressing periods of their lives.

Paternity leave policies also came under scrutiny in the survey. A significant 36.2 percent of HR Managers admitted that their companies do not enhance paternity leave pay or time to support fathers in taking parental leave. Additionally, 11.9 percent of HR Managers expressed uncertainty about whether their family-friendly policies included inclusive language.

Joeli Brearley, the CEO and Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, commented on the survey’s results. “Our research earlier this year revealed that one in four women undergoing fertility treatment experience unfair treatment at work; we need to call a spade a spade. If you do not have a policy in place to protect women when they are at their most vulnerable, then you are not properly supporting women at all.”

Flexible working

The survey also highlighted deficiencies in flexible working policies. An astonishing 41.8 percent of HR managers reported that they do not monitor the impact of flexible working or hybrid policies at all. Additionally, only 40 percent of HR Managers disclosed that they had received training for supporting teams in a hybrid working environment.

Brearley emphasised the importance of flexible working and the need for better tracking mechanisms. “A lack of flexible working is bad for business and bad for inclusivity. Time and time again, research has shown that flexible working has many benefits, but if employers don’t track it then they can’t make impactful and data-driven decisions about where and when their employees work, and they are more likely to revert to less impactful conventional ways of working. We need to start taking flexible working seriously.”

The survey underscores the urgent need for comprehensive policies that support employees during pivotal life moments and ensure workplace inclusivity. With 54,000 mothers experiencing workplace discrimination leading to their exit from the workforce and 77 percent of mothers facing negative treatment annually, the call for reform becomes even more imperative. The survey advocates for rewriting the playbook to establish robust support systems and policies that foster a culture of care and respect for all staff members.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.