Vodafone Ireland has today announced new fertility and pregnancy policies which include extended leave for those dealing with fertility treatment and pregnancy loss as well as their partners.

Vodafone also announced changes to its maternity leave policy, offering the same maternity leave for surrogacy.

The new policy includes extended paid leave of ten days for those impacted by pregnancy loss when this occurs prior to 24 weeks and applies whether the loss occurs to the Vodafone staff member their partner or their baby's surrogate mother.

After 24 weeks full maternity leave applies.

Vodafone said it recognises that each case may require different support depending on the situation, and additional leave will be offered, alongside hybrid and flexible working.

Vodafone Ireland also said it is offering ten paid working days leave a year for those directly undergoing fertility treatment and two days paid leave for partners of those having treatment.

Additional flexibility regarding leave will also be offered depending on the situation, as well as hybrid and flexible working, allowing employees time to attend appointments as needed.

Noting that surrogacy can be often overlooked in maternity leave policies,Vodafone Ireland said it will mirror the full 26 weeks paid maternity leave for the surrogacy intending parent.

In addition, Vodafone Ireland will provide preparation leave of ten paid working days leave for prospective parents to attend preparation classes and/or meetings with further flexibility available dependent on the situation.

Vodafone Ireland continues to offer 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave to all non-birthing parents whose baby is born, adopted, or born through surrogacy (non-primary carer) and a six-month ramp on period where an employee works 80% of the working week but receives full pay.

The telecoms company allows partners to take the leave when and how they want to within the first 18 months of the birth, adoption or surrogacy of their child.

It is also increasing the maternity leave offering for all retail full-time and part-time employees from 16 weeks to 26 weeks full pay and aligning with the surrogacy leave policy, which it claims is a unique offering in the retail industry.

Anne O'Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, said today's improved policies highlights the company's ongoing commitment to supporting its employees through all life stages.

"We know the road to parenthood may not be easy and so we have developed these additional policies for our employees here in Ireland," Ms O'Leary said.

"Our approach encompasses both the highs and lows, ensuring we are there for our employees through fertility treatment, pregnancy loss, surrogacy as well as maternity and parental leave," she said.

"Inclusion for all is a key pillar of our purpose and by creating these enhanced policies, we hope to build a culture of openness and break down the stigma associated with fertility treatment and pregnancy loss," the CEO added.