South Yorkshire Police are the first police force in the UK to join the charity The Smallest Things on their campaign ‘Employer with a Heart’, giving extra rights to parents of premature babies.
In February, the charity launched their ‘Employer with a Heart’ campaign and introduced the ‘Employer with Heart’ charter for employers to sign up to and support parents of premature babies.
By signing up to be an ‘Employer with Heart’, we are recognising the unique, yet significant needs for some officers and staff following the premature birth of a child. We will be offering additional paid leave, to mothers who give birth prematurely, as well as extra leave to support paternity and maternity leave.
Chief Constable Stephen Watson said: ‘I am really pleased we are supporting The Smallest Things, ‘Employer with Heart’ campaign.
‘We understand that being the parent of a premature baby can be uniquely difficult and lead to some considerable anxiety. It is important our staff feel supported in dedicating their time and energy toward their newborn during that time.
‘I trust this policy will go some way to lightening the burden during a sometimes unsettling period and provide a further illustration of the force’s commitment to the welfare of its staff.’
Catriona Ogilvy, founder of The Smallest Things, said: “We are delighted that South Yorkshire Police have signed up to our ‘Employer with Heart’ charter and will give parents of babies born prematurely the extra time they need. They become the first Police Force in the UK to do so and we encourage others to follow their lead.
‘Visiting a fragile baby on a neonatal intensive care unit for weeks, sometimes months, is terrifying and shouldn’t be counted as maternity or paternity leave. This extra time will give parents more chance to bond with their babies, take care of them at home for longer and recover from the trauma themselves.’
Consideration will also be given to formal or informal flexible working patterns to parents returning to work following the birth of their premature baby.
For more information about the charity, please visit www.thesmallestthings.org
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