No statutory right to time off for fertility treatment

When an employee is undergoing fertility treatment it can be an emotional and difficult time and often, employers do not have any provision for dealing with requests for time off.  There is no statutory right to take either paid of unpaid time off for fertility treatment but some employers provide a contractual right to time off or deal with requests for time off on an individual basis.

For the purpose of entitlement to employment rights, a woman undergoing IVF is deemed to be pregnant from the point of implantation. An employee would therefore be entitled to time off for antenatal appointments from this point and this also applies to any medical appointments related to treatment from this point onwards,

A woman is protected from pregnancy and maternity discrimination from the point of implantation, which means that an employer that dismisses or takes other action against an employee because they need time off for IVF treatment may face a discrimination claim.

At any stage during the process but up to implantation, the employee may be signed off by a doctor due to the effects of the treatment and this must be treated as sickness absence and paid statutory sick pay or contractual sick pay in accordance with the normal procedure.

121 HR Solutions can assist employers in the preparation of a policy to sit alongside other family-friendly policies. Contact us on 0800 9995 121 for further information.

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