Asos introduces paid leave for menopause, pregnancy loss and fertility treatment for staff

The new policies also include flexible working and paid leave for staff undergoing treatments for cancer

Joanna Whitehead
Thursday 07 October 2021 11:16 BST
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<p>The fast fashion brand said the new policies aimed to support staff through difficult times</p>

The fast fashion brand said the new policies aimed to support staff through difficult times

The online fashion store Asos has introduced paid leave for staff experiencing the menopause, fertility treatment or pregnancy loss.

The clothing retailer has announced a raft of new measures for employees, including flexible working and paid leave at short notice.

Staff dealing with pregnancy loss, including miscarriages and abortions, will be permitted to take 10 days of leave, with the policy applying to the partners of those who were pregnant and for surrogate pregnancies.

Asos has pledged to offer up to six weeks of paid leave for staff undergoing treatments for other health issues, such as cancer treatment and gender reassignment surgery.

And staff fleeing domestic domestic violence will also benefit from paid leave.

The new gender-neutral policies, which have been introduced with immediate effect, aim to support employees who are “going through health-related life events”.

Asos chief executive Nick Beighton said: “All of us face unexpected challenges in life, and sometimes these can create very difficult circumstances which mean we need to step away from or change how we work.

“We’ve launched these new policies to reassure all Asosers that they will continue to be supported, personally and financially, throughout those difficult times. We’re here, no matter what it is and every step of the way.”

In a statement, Asos said the new policies will “enable Asosers to take the time away from work that they need, while also increasing awareness of the impact of such common life events”.

Asos’ profits soared by 250 per cent during the second Covid lockdown, with sales hitting £2bn.

The retail giant, which bought the Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge brands earlier this year, has been accused of failing to address the issue of fast fashion, however.

According to one report, Asos adds as many as 7,000 styles to its online site in a single week.

In June, a study by the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) found that 36 per cent of Asos’ garments were produced with non-recycled plastics such as polyester and nylon.

And in April, a cross-party group of more than 100 MPs and peers signed a joint letter to the CEOs of fast fashion giants, such as Asos, Boohoo and H&M, to demand living wages for the garment workers in their supply chains.

Labour MP and chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee Stephen Timms who authored the letter wrote: “There is simply no excuse for fast fashion brands not to pay a living wage to their garment workers.

“If major suppliers were willing to reduce their profit margins by a tiny fraction, they could continue to make a handsome profit while also selling affordable clothing and allowing their workers around the world to live a life of dignity.”

The Independent has approached Asos for comment.

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