A third of employees within the education sector stated they didn’t receive any support from their employer whilst experiencing fertility issues
Almost 1 in 4 (23%) employees within the education sector would call in sick before sharing fertility struggles with employers, according to the 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey. The study also found that 50% of workplaces in the education sector do not have a supportive workplace policy for employees struggling with their fertility.
Despite one in six people worldwide being affected by infertility*, the study reveals that no employees within this sector have felt supported by their employers throughout their fertility journeys.
However, the survey also found that although employees don’t feel supported by their companies when compared to other sectors included in the research, 2 in 5 employees within the education sector were comfortable speaking with their colleagues about fertility; the highest result of all assessed.
The 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey was conducted by Fertility Family, experts in supporting those trying to conceive – to uncover whether employers recognise this common issue and provide adequate support. It gathered insight from 248 UK employees who’ve experienced difficulties in the workplace due to their fertility journey.
The study also found employees within the education sector feel forced to lie to their employers and fear for their careers because of infertility stigma:
- Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) would rather call in sick than tell their employer about their fertility appointment
- 1 in 5 (20%) feared they would not be promoted, or that they would miss out on future opportunities if their employer knew they were trying for a child
- Only 17% said their employer has a supportive workplace policy for employees who may be struggling with their fertility
What employees want from their companies
Findings from the 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey show that 1 in 2 education employees surveyed felt that their employer did not have a supportive workplace policy for employees who may be struggling with their fertility.
The survey found that the form of support most educational sector employees want is flexible working to leave for fertility-related appointments (76%), followed by providing paid compassionate leave (60%) and having all employees trained on fertility issues, including how to address these conversations with colleagues (30%).
Kate Palmer, Director of HR Advice and Consultancy at Peninsula, says:
“It can be daunting for an employee to share details of their health, particularly with sensitive conditions like fertility. So it’s important to create a culture of open communication and support. Doing so allows employees to ask for the help they need, which in turn contributes towards increased productivity, satisfaction and retention.
“Introducing mental health first aiders and/or appointing fertility champions can be a great starting point for raising awareness about, and showing support for, those experiencing fertility struggles. Such people can be a point of contact for those who may not want to discuss this with a line manager or member of the HR team.
“A fertility policy both helps those trying to conceive and raises awareness of their struggles so that colleagues and managers know how to provide compassion and care.”