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A Westminster Hall debate on fertility treatment and workplace rights was scheduled to take place on 22 November 2023 at 9.30 am, sponsored by SNP MP Angela Crawley. This debate was cancelled. Information relating to fertility treatment and workplace rights can be found below.

Employment law is devolved in Northern Ireland but reserved in respect of Scotland and Wales.

Existing employment rights

At present there are no specific statutory rights to time off work for in order to attend IVF treatment in Great Britain. Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) guidance on Having IVF treatment states that “There’s no legal right for time off work for IVF treatment” but that such appointments or any sickness arising from IVF treatment should be treated “the same as any other medical appointment or sickness” are treated by an employer’s staff policy.

The Acas guidance also states that “You have pregnancy rights once you’ve had the last part of the IVF process (‘embryo transfer’) and might become pregnant.” These pregnancy rights include the right to “reasonable time off with full pay for pregnancy-related (‘antenatal’) appointments.” Even if the embryo transfer was unsuccessful, employees are protected against pregnancy discrimination for two weeks after finding out, which might limit an employer in refusing requests for further appointments.

The number of appointments women need for IVF can vary significantly, but as an example, NHS guidance on IVF notes there are usually six main steps to each cycle of IVF treatment. IVF treatment can also involve other appointments such as consultations and counselling.

Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill 2022-23 

On 20 June 2022 Conservative MP Nickie Aiken introduced a Private Member’s Bill, the Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill 2022-23, as a Presentation Bill. The Bill’s long title was “A Bill to require employers to allow employees to take time off from work for appointments for fertility treatment; and for connected purposes.” The Bill did not receive a second reading.

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