Fertility Matters At Work announces the UK’s first ever Fertility Friendly employer.
At Fertility Matters at Work, we exist to educate and inspire businesses with an awareness of how fertility issues affect both their employees and their organisation. By becoming a member with us, organisations demonstrate their commitment to becoming a Fertility Friendly workplace.
Burgess Mee Family Law, a boutique family and private client law firm with six partners, 13 other fee earners and five support staff, recognises that fertility issues and fertility treatments, as well as baby loss, can be mentally, emotionally and physically draining. Despite the huge impact on people’s personal and professional lives, however, all too often they suffer in silence, fearful of broaching a ‘taboo’ subject and jeopardising their career progression.
With this in mind, the law firm undertook our training and accreditation process to ensure that current and future employees feel empowered to discuss their family-building plans, whatever they may look like, and do not feel worried or ashamed about sharing any fertility struggles they may be facing. The family law specialists implemented policy, awareness raising, training and support whilst working with us, ensuring that their workplace embodied a psychologically safe culture which supports employees on their paths to parenthood.
Burgess Mee was the first organisation in the UK to appoint a Fertility Officer to support employees experiencing fertility struggles. Natalie Sutherland, a partner specialising in fertility and surrogacy law and head of the firm’s Modern Families Department, was appointed to the role late last year, and the firm subsequently introduced a fertility policy, miscarriage and baby loss policy, and fertility benefits policy across the firm.
As Fertility Officer, Natalie offers staff facing fertility struggles practical and emotional support on a confidential basis – from helping to rearrange work diaries for medical appointments and finding staff to cover meetings to offering advice, facilitating introductions to fertility experts, or simply providing a sympathetic ear. It has been fully embraced by staff who have benefited and might otherwise have had to suffer in silence.
FMAW and Burgess Mee recently attended the launch of The Fertility Workplace Pledge in parliament together.
Our accreditation panel commended Burgess Mee for being a “trailblazing organisation when it comes to wellbeing and fertility”, with Natalie Sutherland leading the way in “driving not only internal support and awareness, but external awareness too, inspiring other organisations to follow suit”. Burgess Mee was praised for providing clear, well thought through policies and guidance, signalling that fertility is a topic that is recognised and supported, which has had a huge positive impact on employees.
Natalie says: “Burgess Mee is delighted to have gained accreditation as the UK’s first Fertility Friendly employer. Fertility Matters At Work’s training course is both thought-provoking and informative, containing essential insights into what it means to face fertility issues while trying to hold down a demanding job.
“If infertility has never touched you, understandably, you may have no idea of the many ways it can impact a person’s working life. But given that infertility affects so many people, it’s likely that at least someone in your organisation is suffering in silence and not seeking help.
“By undertaking this training, you’re putting your organisation at the forefront of these issues and acting rather than reacting. This is massively important to engender trust with employees. I have no doubt that gaining Fertility Friendly status will help organisations to attract and retain staff and ultimately boost the bottom line.”
Becky Kearns, Co-Founder of FMAW, comments on the accreditation: “We’re currently on the lookout for the first 100 businesses to commit to becoming Fertility Friendly, and we already have an impressive number of leading British businesses involved. To be able to announce the UK’s first Fertility Friendly organisation is so exciting and something we’re really proud to have achieved with Burgess Mee.”
For more information on becoming a Fertility Friendly workplace, please visit our webpage here.