There has been some publicity about companies who have introduced new forms of leave this year for their employees.
Some companies have introduced a number of new leave policies designed to assist employees at times when they may need additional support which up to now have not been covered by statutory leave or the employers leave policies.
These include, for example:
- fertility treatment leave
- pregnancy loss leave
- surrogacy leave
- domestic violence leave
The fertility leave policy will support employees who are undergoing fertility treatment, irrespective of gender. Some companies are offering three days paid leave to assist those who are undergoing or recovering from treatment, enabling them to attend appointments.
The pregnancy loss leave policy is designed to support employees and partners who have been impacted by the loss of a pregnancy. Some employees will be able to avail of three to five days’ paid leave from their company in the event of pregnancy loss. This is available to staff irrespective of gender.
Surrogacy leave is also something that employers have been looking at. Maternity leave or adoptive leave doesn’t apply for the female employee who is to become a mother through surrogacy. There is Paternity leave for the male who becomes the father. There is parents leave for the father, but the mother in this case is not able to avail of parents leave. The parents can avail of parental leave. In these circumstances it seems that some employers are beginning to provide paid surrogacy leave.
Domestic violence leave is currently at the consultation stage with a report to be brought to Government shortly. The scheme would grant domestic violence survivors paid leave to end an abusive relationship, find a new home and protect them and their children. Following the lead of other countries and indeed the lead of other employers who have proceeded with a domestic violence policy plus paid leave is something that pivots an employer and a workplace from a potential pressure point for somebody that’s in distress to an ally.