Here at the Co-op, we want to support colleagues undergoing fertility treatment. We understand it can be emotionally stressful and colleagues need support, especially if a cycle of treatment is not successful. We also know that sometimes colleagues may need time off work to go to appointments for fertility treatment (including accompanying their partners). If you do need time off, speak to your manager to make arrangements for the time you need.

We acknowledge the importance of using inclusive language and where possible we have used ‘gender neutral language’ in this policy.

Crucial bits

Talk to your manager as soon as you find out that your treatment, or your partner’s treatment, has been approved. They will handle things in a sensitive way and treat it as confidential. If you have received medical advice that adjustments are needed to your work duties or pattern while you’re undergoing treatment, your manager will make sure that these are made.

If you need go to appointments to prepare for or undergo treatment yourself, we’ll give you a reasonable amount of paid time off to attend. We know it might be difficult to have control over the times of these appointments but try to arrange these outside your normal working hours if you can, or at the start or end of the working day. Let your manager know as early as you can when your appointments are. They might ask to see your appointment card or email/text confirmation to confirm things.

If it’s just your partner, or both you and your partner are undergoing fertility treatment, we know you may want to accompany your partner to their appointments. In this situation we’ll give you a reasonable amount of time off attend, but this will be unpaid.

Things to think about

We understand that you’ll be concerned about your pay, so if the time off is unpaid we’ll do our best to limit the effect wherever we can, like agreeing for you to make up the time where it’s possible, or agreeing for you to take holiday. We want your pay to be right, so this should be recorded as either Paid or Unpaid Hospital or Dental/Medical Visit, as agreed with your manager.

If you need further support

If you have any questions about time off for fertility treatment, please speak to your manager. If managers need advice, they can contact ER Services.

Remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme(EAP) who can provide colleagues with support. You can contact the EAP on 0800 069 8854. It’s independent and totally confidential. And there’s no charge for Co-op colleagues.