November 15, 2017
1 in 10 babies born worldwide is premature. That accounts for 15 million births each year, so it is more common than you think. The birth of a baby is a significant event for anyone. If baby arrives earlier than expected it can be life-changing.
I was mum of a baby born at 23 weeks. My son underwent 5 surgical operations, 2 of them life-saving. He then spent 6 months in hospital before being able to come home. So I can speak from experience!
The more flexibility, support, and understanding you can show to parents of premature babies, the less they have to worry about.
You can help your employees in various ways:
Also, bear in mind that he may want to postpone paternity leave until baby actually comes home.
Baby can often be in a hospital away from home. Added travel, accommodation and childcare costs for siblings can become a real strain for parents.
Can you offer any of the following?
Or can you offer a combination of these?
If the worst happens and your team members are unable to bring baby home, you could :
The new statutory bereavement leave is being debated in Parliament. It’s worrying that it is up for debate at all – but the law will change going forward.
Also, bear in mind the impact of hospital visits and emergency care for siblings on other family members. You don’t want your business to suffer in any way, but as an employer, you also have a duty of care to your staff.
Discuss the options with your employee. Any employment changes are likely to be temporary but will go a long way to alleviating pressure and stress for them. This will benefit you in the long run.
Showing compassion and flexibility at difficult, life-changing times in employees’ lives is a sign of a great employer. It doesn’t have to be to
the detriment of your business.
Be that understanding employer. Send a very positive message that you care about your team. In return, they will care about doing the very best they can for your business when life settles down again.
You cannot plan for a premature birth. Do not underestimate the shock, stress, and often significant medical challenges involved.
Whatever you can do to help at this difficult time cannot be underestimated. Work with your staff to help them through.
For further information about World Prematurity Day and how to help raise awareness visit:
If you need guidance on flexible working, employment law around parental leave, or any other people issues, please get in touch.