The UK’s biggest gas distribution network, Cadent
, is now the first company in the utility sector to become a Fertility Friendly organisation. After undergoing Fertility Matters at Work’s accreditation, Cadent, which employs over 6,000 people, has implemented a dedicated policy for individuals going through fertility treatment, allowing employees paid time off to attend fertility appointments and attend their partner's appointments where applicable.
Educating businesses and raising awareness of how fertility issues affect both their employees and their organisation, Fertility Matters at Work
is on a mission to find the first 100 UK companies to commit to becoming Fertility Friendly employers.
The need to undergo specialist training was driven by Kelly-Anne Morris, Regulatory Specialist and, more recently, Fertility Lead at Cadent. The employee started the conversation around improving the utility organisation's policies and available support due to experiencing infertility and wanting to inspire change internally. Subsequently, this led to another employee who had a similar experience joining Kelly as Co-Fertility Lead - Liz Brand, Assurance Manager.
As well as having a dedicated policy in place for all employees, Cadent now offer guidance documents and e-learning for line managers and staff, aiming to raise awareness of fertility issues and give staff the capability to offer support to their direct reports. The gas company is also preparing to assign staff as ‘fertility champions’ throughout the business.
Kelly-Anne comments: “The topic of infertility is becoming much less of a taboo subject at Cadent. People are now more likely to have a conversation with their line manager and colleagues if they feel they will be supported with the journey. To have an open culture where issues like this can be discussed openly by our employees, knowing there is support, has been game changing.
“We have a number of people who have previously shared their infertility story throughout the company to highlight that many of us may be going through something similar or know of someone who is. This received a great response and encouraged people to talk about their own experiences.”
Natalie Silverman, co-founder of Fertility Matters at Works, adds: “As the first company within the utility sector with a majority male workforce, it is a testament to the team that Cadent is supportive of its employees. We hope this sets an example for other energy companies to consider if they do all they can to support and cater to their employees’ needs.
“Kelly-Anne’s dedication to our accreditation process has been amazing, and we're really proud to have supported the Cadent team with this important piece of work.”
You can find out more about the work of Fertility Matters at Work here