Over the last decade, we have witnessed the transformation of maternity leave, paternity leave, and shared parental leave, with both mothers and fathers gaining more rights to take time off.
Post-pandemic, we're witnessing a further expansion in the types of employee leave, with the latest additions of:
1. Pregnancy Loss Leave - time off work for bereavement
2. Menstrual Leave - to eliminate the taboo around periods
3. Menopause Leave - solution to the 'hottest' workplace issue
4. Grandparent Leave - appreciation towards older workers
Add to that the 4-day working week and the question is - is anybody left working?!
Jokes aside, you might be wondering what benefits do they bring and how can you adopt these policies? Read on for more insights on each, along with industry standards and actionable solutions.
1. Pregnancy Loss Leave - time off for bereavement
Two prominent UK employers, Channel 4 and Monzo, are now offering employees up to two weeks of paid leave in the event of pregnancy loss such as miscarriage, abortion or stillbirth.
More than one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage — around a quarter of a million in the UK each year, according to the Miscarriage Association.
Channel 4 states that employers should recognise the loss of pregnancy regardless of the circumstances, as this can have a lasting emotional and physical impact on the lives of many women and their partners.
Monzo also support this movement by offering up to 10 days of paid leave following any form of pregnancy loss. In addition, the bank has also announced that employees undergoing "fertility treatments, diagnosis or consultations" will be offered up to eight additional days of extra paid leave each year.
As an employer:
Under current UK law, employers are only required to offer paid leave to parents if they lose a baby 24 weeks or later into a pregnancy. If a woman suffers a pregnancy loss before the 24-week mark, she may be entitled to leave provided she obtains a note from her GP. However, there is no guarantee that this will be paid.
Nonetheless, examples of supportive workplaces and some of the recent publicity about paid bereavement leave should encourage more employers to do likewise.
2. Menopause leave - solution to the 'hottest' workplace issue
Menopause is forcing 1 in every 10 women in the UK to quit.
UK professional HR body, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, suggested that keeping women in the workforce(with policies such as menopause leave and support) is an opportunity for employers to work towards closing gender pay gaps.
How does menopause leave work?
According to Victorian Women’s Trust, Australian research, policy, and advocacy service, a menopause leave policy suggests employers:
- Prioritise women’s comfort and allow them to work from home if possible
- Offer opportunities and spaces for women to rest in quiet areas at work
- Offer 12 days of leave per year that is pro-rata and non-cumulative
- Do not require medical certificates from women taking time off to manage menopause symptoms
What are others doing?
Marks & Spencer developed a comprehensive ‘Manage Your Menopause’ microsite for staff, filled with information and guidance for managers. It also formed a specialist group to manage referrals and established robust absence policies related to menopause symptoms. The initiative was hugely successful, leading to fewer absences and less staff turnover.
31 other brands like Boots, Vichy, and Promensil, also signed an open letter asking other businesses to support the UK’s 15.5 million women experiencing menopause with effective products, services, workplace policies, and signposting.
3. Menstrual leave - to eliminate the taboo around periods
Between 15 and 25 per cent of people who menstruate will experience moderate to severe menstrual cramps that negatively impact their work.
Menstrual leave is a very forward-thinking and progressive step, encouraging female workers that suffer from menstruation to claim the time they need and seek help from a doctor for debilitating symptoms.
What do they look like & what are others doing?
Nuvento, a global software company recently announced that employees can take one day of menstrual leave per month. Although the policy is very new, workers have so far welcomed it, and more importantly, have felt heard and considered.
Modibodi, an Australian company launched a policy that offers 10 days of paid leave annually for reasons relating to menstruation, menopause and miscarriage. “We know that women are suffering. These issues are very normal and common, and they can be debilitating both mentally and physically,” said Chief Executive, Kristy Chong.
There are additional ways to support those who menstruate, such as office space to rest or nap or free menstrual hygiene products in restrooms, said Sarah Verbiest, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina.
Tips for employers considering menstrual leave:
Employers should make sure that menstrual discrimination is added to their anti-discrimination policies. It’s also important to consider privacy. Some companies code menstrual leave as a sick day, for example, which can help encourage workers to take advantage of the time off and can be a safety factor for trans men who are still menstruating.
4. Grandparent leave - appreciation towards older workers
The birth of a grandchild may be considered a priceless gift in itself, but for some grandparents, it now comes with a new perk – an extra week off work.
Saga, the travel and insurance company for the over-50s, is to give employees a week of paid leave to celebrate the birth of a grandchild as part of the grandparent leave policy.
The company, which employs 2,500 staff, said it was introducing the policy in recognition that grandparents play an increasingly essential role in childcare while also building a work culture that appeals to the over-50s. As part of the policy, the grandchildren of all Saga staff will have access to its onsite nursery at its headquarters in Folkestone, Kent.
It's crucial as a “purpose-led” business to reflect the needs of its over-50 customer base within its workforce. By 2030, almost 30 million people will be over the age of 50 in the UK, and currently 71% of those between the ages of 50 and 64 are in work.
1. Monzo & Channel 4's latest pregnancy loss policy, why this matters and what should employers do to support employees enduring this loss.
2. Why menstrual leave matters & how to adopt it, and what benefits organisations obtained after offering time off for periods.
3. An in-depth article on Workplace Menopause Leave and how employers adopt relevant menopause policies to properly support their employees and make their business better overall.
4. Saga introduced paid leave for grandparents, what does it look like and why are more employers implementing similar policies?
Check out these other articles to better understand the key life stages which are affecting your employees in the workplace:
Life’s complicated - after navigating the challenging realm of childcare and parenting, you’d think women would be home free, but then the menopause hits. Numerous studies have shown that menopause symptoms can have a severe impact on attendance and performance at work.Read post