Jackie Le Poidevin, Editor-in-Chief, HR Adviser


New Guidance on Becoming a Fertility-friendly Employer: Your 3 Key Actions

NHS figures suggest one in seven couples in the UK have difficulty conceiving, with around 55,000 people having IVF or donor insemination treatment in 2021. According to a new employer’s guide by The Fawcett Society and Totaljobs, such treatment can take a major financial, emotional and physical toll on individuals. Supporting employees during this time can not only bring huge benefits to them but can also improve motivation, reduce unplanned absence and boost the retention and progression of talented staff members. We summarise 3 key actions recommended in the report which you can take to foster a ‘fertility-friendly’ workplace.

Action 1. Create Clearly Signposted Fertility Guidance

The report, Paths to parenthood: Navigating fertility at work, recommends that you draw up a written policy or guide setting out:

  • What workers are entitled to (whether they’re having treatment or supporting a partner).
  • How to ask for support.

Keep this separate from your maternity policy.

Support to consider offering includes:

  • Paid leave for appointments.
  • Paid compassionate leave which covers pregnancy loss (including embryo transfer loss) – this was cited by employees surveyed for the report as the most useful benefit employers can offer.
  • Flexible working.
  • Workplace adjustments.
  • Recording sick leave separately so as not to trigger your absence management procedure.
  • Mental health support – for example, through an employee assistance programme or mental health first aiders.

Action 2. Train Your Managers

More than two in five workers surveyed who had fertility treatment said they struggled to combine the demands of treatment with work and one in five resigned as a result of poor workplace experiences.

Almost all needed time off work. Treatment is likely to be physically and emotionally draining and there may be uncomfortable side effects. Individuals may also have to attend doctor appointments every one to three days at little notice and administer medication at specific times.

It’s therefore helpful to brief your line managers so they understand:

  • The impact of going through fertility treatment.
  • What assistance they can offer.
  • How to have supportive conversations with team members.
  • The importance of confidentiality.
To assess whether your managers could benefit from additional advice or training, you can download the Fertility Issues: Line Manager Support for Team Members Checklist from HR Adviser’s Online Resource Centre.

Action 3. Shift Your Culture

Nearly four in five workers surveyed believed it’s crucial for employers to facilitate open, safe conversations about fertility issues. To break down the taboo that often exists around discussing fertility issues at work, The Fawcett Society suggests you might:

  • Showcase what assistance you offer.
  • Celebrate Fertility Awareness Week – this is on 30 October to 5 November this year.
  • Sign up to the Fertility workplace pledge.
  • Invite employees with experience of fertility issues to help you roll out your support package and/or have a fertility ‘champion’ or support group.
  • Use the hints and tips provided on the Fertility Matters at Work website.



Emma Lampka, Editorial Board Member, Health & Safety Adviser and Risk Assessment & Compliance


An Urgent Reminder of the Critical Risks Posed by Young Workers: 3 Steps to Minimise Your Risk

In this alarming case, the unfortunate ordeal of a 16-year-old boy serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of workplace safety, particularly when young individuals are involved. It should serve as a reminder of the critical need for adequate training and a high level of supervision to ensure that control measures are being followed.

What Happened in this Case

A 16-year-old boy, Tom, suffered serious injuries after becoming trapped under a tractor while on work experience at Earlcoate Construction & Plant Hire Ltd in the New Forest. The teenager was driving a tractor down an incline when it overturned. Tom was alone and the tractor did not have a seat belt fitted. He was thrown out of his seat and his upper leg was trapped under the tractor roof. Fortunately, he was found by passers-by who called for assistance. He was taken to hospital for treatment.

At the magistrates’ court, Earlcoate pleaded guilty to breaching Reg. 2(1) of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,223.

After the hearing, the HSE Inspector said: ‘The incident could so easily have been avoided by understanding the risks involved with employing young people. This could have been achieved by carrying out a suitable risk assessment and putting in place appropriate information, instruction, and training to both Tom and those working with him, and most importantly, ensuring adequate supervision was in place to ensure correct control measures and safe working practices were implemented.”

3 Takeaways to Minimise Your Risk

  1. Undertake a Young Persons risk assessment: a young worker is classed as anyone under the minimum school leaving age. Young workers may be more vulnerable as they may: lack experience and/or maturity; not have reached physical maturity and lack strength; be eager to impress or please people they work with at their own risk, and; be unaware of how to raise concerns. By taking these vulnerabilities into account when undertaking your risk assessment, you will determine the appropriate control measures to take, such as training and supervision (see below).
  2. Providing training: young people need clear and sufficient instruction, training and supervision, which is proportionate to the level of risk they may be exposed to, so that they understand the importance of health and safety and can work without putting themselves and other people at risk. This could be through a tailored induction and training programme regarding the tasks and activities they are going to do. Check they have understood the instruction and training, especially the hazards and risks in the workplace and the precautions in place for them to use.
  3. Ensure regular supervision: young workers will need more supervision than adults. Good supervision will help you get a clear idea of their capabilities and their progress in the job. It will also help you monitor the effectiveness of their training. Regularly checking a young person’s progress will help identify where any additional adjustments may be needed. It’s often appropriate to put age limits on the use of some equipment and machinery, such as forklift trucks and some woodworking machinery.



Sarah Bradford, Editor-in-Chief, Pay & Benefits Adviser

New HMRC Policy Change: How to Reimburse the Cost of Charging an Electric Company Car at Home

HMRC have recently announced a policy change in the way in which the reimbursement of costs incurred by an employee in charging a company car at home is treated for tax purposes. We explain what the change means for you.

The Existing Position

Previously, HMRC did not accept that home charging costs fell within the exemption that applies in relation to costs incurred in connection with a taxable car. This exemption prevents an additional tax charge arising where the employer meets costs such as insurance, servicing and repairs in respect of an employee’s company car.

As a result, if you reimbursed part of a domestic energy bill relating to the home charging of an employee’s company car, HMRC’s previous stance was that a tax charge arose to the extent that this related to electricity used for private journeys.

This was at odds with the position that applies if the employer pays for or provides the electricity for private journeys in an electric company car. Where this is the case, there is no associated tax charge as electricity is not regarded as fuel for the purposes of the fuel benefit charge.

Any reimbursement of the cost of electricity for business journeys is tax free. The reimbursement can be made in respect of the actual cost of the electricity used or using the advisory fuel rates. Advisory fuel rates are fuel only mileage rates published by HMRC and include an electric rate. From 1 September 2023, this is set at 10 pence per mile.

The New Policy

HMRC published details of their revised approach in October 2023. They now accept that the reimbursement of domestic electric costs where a company car is charged at home falls within the scope of the exemption for costs incurred in connection with a taxable car.

Consequently, you can now meet the costs of electricity for private journeys in a company car by reimbursing the employee where the employee charges their company car at home without a tax charge arising.

However, HMRC stress that the exemption will only apply if it can be demonstrated that the electricity was used to charge the company car.

The policy change does not apply to employees who charge their own cars at home. Any reimbursement of domestic electricity costs relating to private journeys in an employee’s own electric car is taxable.

However, you can reimburse charging costs to the extent that these relate to business mileage tax free, as long as the amount reimbursed does not exceed the approved amount. The approved rates are 45 pence per mile for the first 10,000 business miles in the tax year and 25 pence per mile for subsequent business miles regardless of the fuel type of the car.

Workplace Charging

No tax charge arises where an employee charges a car, whether a company car or a private car, at work, regardless of whether the charge provides electricity for private journeys. As previously noted, HMRC do not regard electricity as a fuel for the purposes of the fuel benefit charge, meaning you can provide electricity for private journeys in a company car tax free.

A separate exemption for workplace charging means employees can charge a private car in which they are either the driver or the passenger at work without triggering a tax charge. The exemption is only available if the charger is provided at or near the employee’s workplace and the facilities are available to all the employees at that workplace.