Telling your employer that you are about to embark on a journey of Fertility treatment could probably be one of the toughest things you will have to do… Not only do you need to figure out who you are going to tell amongst your family and friends but, informing your boss is one extra person plus those in HR!
I remember when our journey started- hubby and I had decided that we were not going to inform my employer and would simply go through everything using my annual leave. By the time we had sat down with the nurse at our hour long consultation, we had changed our minds. She made us realise that although the stimulating and egg collection process had been scheduled to take just over two weeks, it was just a guideline. My journey could potentially be longer due to me having PCOS which, could see my follicles grow at a very slow pace.
We still discussed using my annual leave and if necessary, using sick days also but, I went to work the following day and checked the employee handbook and guess what? My employer at the time offered two weeks’ leave per year for those going through fertility treatment! 💃🏾💃🏾
It took me over a week to finally sit down with my manger and tell him what was going on. I was nervous and to be honest, felt slightly embarrassed… At the point of our first cycle, I was still going through the motions of not feeling like a complete woman and scared of how people would see me once they knew. The conversation went better than I expected and the level of support I received was overwhelming.
Here are my top 10 tips
- Check your employee handbook to see whether your employer offers leave or flexible working for anyone having fertility treatment.
- Call your HR department to clarify what you have read in the handbook. If there is nothing in the handbook, call anyway- there may be a new policy being introduced.
- Request a private meeting with your line manager and explain everything. You don’t have to go into full detail but providing some context behind your decision can help him/her sympathise with you.
- If you have decided that you do not want others knowing, make sure your manager understands the importance that it is kept confidential.
- Clear your diary! The last thing you want to do is say that you can work from home or pop into work on the odd day to ensure things are going smoothly. Once you walk out the door, switch off and focus on something else for a distraction.
- Tell your manager that you will keep them informed on how things are progressing whilst you are away. When things were not going too well with my first cycle and I ended up stimulating for over two weeks and it was easy for me to arrive late for work or leave early for tracking appointments before egg collection. After egg collection, I ended up in hospital and my manager was understanding.
- Agree with your manager what he/she will say if someone questions your whereabouts.
- Explain how important it is for you to take things slow and easy during the two week wait. If possible, agree reduced workload for that period.
- If you do decide to stagger your time off, make them aware that there may be days that you may not be yourself… there may even be times you will need to disappear somewhere private to administer drugs or just lay down for a little while. Your body goes through so much and your hormones will be all over the place!
- Once everything is agreed and finalised, send an email to thank them for their understanding and confirm what you have agreed… there’s nothing worse than for someone to turn around and all of a sudden not recall certain things…
Be Encouraged, Be Expectant