Helping people to flourish at work – from fertility support to unlimited annual leave
At Virgin, our work spans across industries and oceans, but what holds us together is our people. We’ve always known that when our people thrive, our businesses thrive – so we need to really nurture our people and create inclusive working environments where they can flourish.
As part of this understanding, we implement policies and benefits that recognise that people have lives outside of work where they face any number of adventures and hardships. At Virgin Management, these benefits range from unlimited (and paid) annual leave to shared parental leave; private healthcare; dental insurance; adoption and surrogacy leave; fully flexible working; and full-scale fertility support. The latter is an area I’m particularly passionate about, and I’m proud to see both Virgin Management and Virgin Red working with Fertifa to ensure our people have access to the best fertility support possible.
After experiencing my own struggles with fertility, this benefit feels particularly meaningful. Before giving birth to our wonderful twins – Etta and Artie – my husband, Freddie, and I spent two years trying to conceive and endured two miscarriages and two failed rounds of IVF. Thankfully, our third round or IVF worked, but our wonderful twins – Etta and Artie – were born at 33 weeks via emergency c-section when I developed pre-eclampsia. After this distressing experience, I know first-hand how important it is for employers to offer as much support as they can when an employee decides to welcome a child into the world.
The Fertifa benefits available to our people at Virgin Management and Virgin Red includes education programmes, unlimited free appointments with a dedicated fertility advisor, free home testing kits, emotional support, and discounted fertility treatments such as IVF, intrauterine insemination (IUI), egg freezing, sperm freezing, frozen embryo transfer (FET), genetic testing, donor eggs and donor sperm. Truly incredible.
Beyond fertility support, we remain determined to help our people flourish in every stage of life. This includes menopause support, 52 weeks’ of adoption leave, extending our bereavement policy to include miscarriages, and encouraging unpaid carers or people suffering with any aspect of their wellbeing to utilise our unlimited leave policy.
Beyond implementing forward-thinking people policies and benefits, it’s crucial for businesses to build workplace cultures that break down the hidden barriers forcing far too many people to suffer in silence. When I returned to work from maternity leave, I experienced a period of intense anxiety - but when I opened up to my colleagues and loved ones, I realised I certainly wasn’t alone, and I felt an incredible amount of support and compassion. This is why we need to facilitate and normalise these conversations at work, and provide a safe place for people to reach out about the challenges they are facing outside of work.
It's so encouraging to see more and more companies really investing in their people, and recognising that work alone doesn’t define a life. I’m very excited to see what our partnership with Fertifa - alongside our other people policies and benefits - will bring.