Channel 4 is going one step further in order to demonstrate its support for staff as it has announced the launch of its new dedicated Pregnancy Loss Policy.
The policy has been designed to support employees through pregnancy loss – which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion.
Believed to be one of the world’s first, Channel 4 hopes to “end the stigma around women’s health issues by helping to normalise taboo subjects and make them more visible”.
It will support both men and women who have been affected, whether it happens directly to them, their partner or their baby’s surrogate mother, regardless of the nature of their loss and whatever their length of service. It will recognise pregnancy loss as an experience that is not isolated to women or heterosexual couples.
The policy includes two weeks leave with full-pay, paid leave for medical appointments, flexible working and a buddy scheme to support staff returning back to work, as well as access to various resources such as medical support and counselling.
Commenting on the policy, Kirstin Furber, People Director at Channel 4, wrote on LinkedIn: “I am proud to have worked with the four women co-chairs to introduce this dedicated Pregnancy Loss Policy. A global first we believe, to support both our female and male employees through pregnancy loss.”
Channel 4 also shared the news itself on LinkedIn, and the post received an outpouring of positive comments with many sharing hopes that other companies will follow suit.
Kelly Pantelides, Branch Manager at Screwfix, wrote: “This is great C4! Hope other companies will follow suit!”
Stuart Porter, Owner at Sonitus Home Limited, added: “Good work C4. Let’s hope many other businesses follow suit.”
Following the launch of the policy, Channel 4’s people team now also has a dedicated Pregnancy Loss Champion, while the broadcaster’s mental health employee network 4Mind will also be offering additional support to staff.
Alex Mahon, Channel 4’s CEO added: “At Channel 4 we recognise that the loss of a pregnancy, no matter the circumstances, can be a form of grief that can have a lasting emotional and physical impact on the lives of many women and their partners.
“Our dedicated policy by 4Women will help confront a subject that remains taboo whilst providing Channel 4’s employees with vital tools and support. We hope that by giving away this pioneering policy we’re able to encourage other organisations to do the same.”
This launch follows on from Channel’s 4 Menopause Policy, which was rolled out in 2019, further cementing the firm’s dedication to tackling taboo subjects with increasing support for employees.
Previously speaking to HR Grapevine, Furber shared that the policy was introduced “to support employees experiencing menopausal symptoms whilst providing guidance to colleagues and line managers about how they can support those transitioning through menopause”.
She shared that since launching the policy two years ago, Channel 4 has witnessed encouraging results. For example, a 2020 4Women survey revealed that 78% of employees at the business have felt better about Channel 4 as a place to work since the policy launched.
Elsewhere, ten per cent of female employees have used or plan to use the policy to support their menopausal symptoms (13% of Channel 4 staff are women over the age of 45-years-old).
“We decided to publicly publish our policy (which had been updated to reflect remote working conditions) on World Menopause Day 2020 so that other companies could take it and make it their own,” Furber added.