The University of Leicester has received an Employer with Heart charter mark as a result of its support for staff who are parents of premature babies and those requiring neonatal care.
The charity The Smallest Things implemented the accreditation in order to reward employers that go above and beyond the statutory requirements outlined in the Neonatal (Leave and Pay) Bill to support parents through neonatal care. The bill introduced paid leave for parents whose babies require neonatal care, so they do not have to use annual leave.
As part of a policy that took effect as of this month, staff at the university who give birth to or adopt a baby born prematurely, or which requires an extended stay in neonatal care, will be eligible for extended maternity, or adoption leave if they are the primary adopter, on full pay.
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Employees taking paternity leave are eligible for up to two weeks of neonatal leave in addition to their existing leave on full pay, and those whose baby was premature or required neonatal care will be eligible for paid time off for attendance at medical appointments for the child during its first year of life.
In addition, the university set up a working group that included members of staff with experience of having a premature baby to consider the best way to support affected employees.
Emma Stevens, director of human resources at the University of Leicester, said: “We are delighted to have achieved our accreditation as an Employer with Heart, and to be able to provide this additional support to staff whose baby is born prematurely or needs an extended stay in neonatal care. We understand that this can be a very difficult experience for parents and want to give them the extra time with their babies that they need.”