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As the working environment evolves into a flexible entity, employee benefits have also been experiencing a similar progression. In this hustle crazy and burnout era, companies need to look after their employees more than ever. 

The online fashion brand Asos is paving the way towards a working environment that sustains its employees, by introducing a number of measures that support employees going through “health-related life events”.

The fashion giant is offering paid leave for staff members who have had a miscarriage or an abortion, including the partners of those who were pregnant. Those having cancer treatments, fertility treatments and gender reassignments are also included in their new policy- it also permits short-notice leave and flexible working for those going through menopause!

These gender-neutral policies promote inclusivity and sensitivity towards a range of challenging life events that can make work and life especially difficult.

“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,” Asos’ chief executive Nick Beighton said.

He went on to say, “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.” Further displaying this move towards progressive policies that are supportive of all employees.

This move by Asos follows an announcement in May by the online bank Monzo, which stated that it would provide paid leave for employees who were affected by the loss of a pregnancy.

By shining a light on ‘taboo’ subjects such as menopause and gender reassignment, Asos is promoting a more open and honest working environment that banishes the shame typically associated with these matters. It’s likely that in the near future more and more companies will adopt similar policies, as society continues to become more understanding of these issues.

But should these policies be listed as work perks, or rather as basic rights?

This is where many companies fall short; they focus on treating their employees as workers rather than humans – more heart is needed and there needs to be less focus on saving face.

While Asos may be setting a new standard in the world of HR, they’re still lacking in other areas of the business.

For instance, in April a cross-party group of MPs and peers signed a joint letter for the bosses of fast fashion giants, including Asos, to demand living wages for the garment workers in their supply chains. If the company wants to show off its ethics, it needs to do so across all of its operations.

Besides this, Asos’ new leave policies are a step in the right direction. Perhaps one day we will see these new measures as common across companies worldwide! For now, you should always read over the benefits offered when applying for a job; companies that value and respect their employees are most likely the ones that will thrive in the working industry.

Words by: Emma Critchley

Edited by: McKenzie Burnett

MA Advertising and Marketing student at UoL. Lover of writing, travel, sport and spontaneity.
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