Category Archives: Employer with Heart

Hospital leads the way in the West Midlands, extending leave for staff whose babies are born premature

This week The Smallest Things has welcomed the news that a second NHS Trust has pledged to sign our Employer with Heart charter, extending paid leave for staff whose babies are born premature.

Leading the way in the West Midlands, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals chief nurse, Paula Gardner, said “We are pleased to become the first Trust in the West Midlands to offer this commitment to parents. Our staff are dedicated to their jobs and work hard to ensure their patients receive high quality care, so we believe that we should return that sentiment by looking after them when they need our help in their personal lives. By signing up to this charter, it means that we will be able to help new mums and dads who are facing a difficult and worrying time after experiencing premature labour.”

One in eight babies are born prematurely and for mothers their maternity leave begins the very next day, weeks and often months before brining their baby home from hospital. The Smallest Things are working with other NHS Trusts and hope that more hospitals will continue to follow the lead of Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals.

Welcoming the news Catriona Ogilvy, founder and chair of The Smallest Things charity, said “We are delighted that Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust has recognised the unique needs of families of premature babies and is signing up to our Employer with Heart charter.”

Charter Mark Logo
“Giving birth prematurely and spending time on a neonatal unit for weeks, sometimes months, is terrifying and traumatic for parents. The last thing they should be worrying about is work and whether they can afford to spend time at the incubator or cot of their fragile baby. We know that the journey often doesn’t end when a premature baby is allowed to go home either. This extra time will go some way to supporting parents’ mental health, the baby’s medical needs and ultimately aid a smoother transition back to work when the time comes.”

More information about The Smallest Things Employer with Heart charter and how to implement this at your place of work can be found here.

While you’re here – more than 229,000 people have signed our petition calling upon the Government to extend paid parental leave for all families whose babies are born premature. Will you sign and add your name? SIGN NOW!

Company policy changed in just 7 days – more time for parents of premature babies

Lena made a change to support parents of premature babies in just 7 days after her friend experienced premature birth. She said “having to return to work only 18 weeks after giving birth, when her baby had only been home with them for two months. That’s what my friend had to do. And I don’t think that’s ok for anyone to have to do at any company.”

Signing up to The Smallest Things Employer with Heart charter GrantTree have pledged to extend paid parental leave for staff whose babies are born prior to 37 weeks gestation.

Welcoming the news Founder and Chair of The Smallest Things Charity Catriona Ogilvy said “Lena was able to change her companies policy in just 7 days and in doing so she has made an enormous difference to lives of staff affected by premature birth. We are delighted that GrantTree have recognised the significant impact premature birth has upon parents and the additional time will support their staff through and after the trauma of neonatal intensive care.”

Lena told The Smallest Things “As a company we don’t want to sacrifice our happiness for commercial success and supporting premature parents at a time of need seemed a necessary and compassionate step to take. Implementing the policy change took only seven days and has been welcomed by everyone. Seeing the company embrace the policy has made me immensely proud to work at GrantTree.”

GrantTree follow in the footsteps of music giant Sony, Medway NHS Foundation Trust and local authorities up and down the country.

Find out more about The Smallest Things Employer with Heart charter or contact Catriona directly at smallestthings@yahoo.com to follow in the footsteps of companies like GrantTree.

! While you’re here, more than 229,00 people have signed our change.org petition calling upon government to extend parental leave for families affected by premature birth. Will you sign and add your name?

Medway NHS Trust becomes first hospital to extend leave for staff who have a premature baby

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has become the first in England to sign up to The Smallest Things ‘Employer with Heart’ Charter, pledging its commitment to support the needs of premature babies and their families.

Current NHS terms and conditions afford new mums whose baby has been born prematurely to split their maternity leave, allowing them to take two weeks leave immediately after childbirth, and the rest following their baby’s discharge from hospital.

One in eight babies are born prematurely and subsequently parents have a reduced time to bond with their baby with the period from birth, to discharge for babies born prematurely typically being several weeks, or even months.  The Trust has therefore taken the step to support new mums in this intervening period by committing to ensure they receive their normal pay up until the point that their normal maternity pay commences.

James Devine, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development said: “We are proud to have become the first NHS Trust in the country to sign up to the Employer with Heart Charter.

“Our staff work tirelessly every day to look after our patients and we want to ensure that they also receive the support that they need when they have difficulty in their own personal lives.  We know that this will affect only a small number of our staff each year, but it is so important that we care for those who are caring for others.

“We understand that it can be an extremely difficult and worrying time for those who experience premature labour and the last thing we want is for our hardworking staff to feel they have to worry about work or whether they can afford to take time off to be with their baby”

Catriona Ogilvy, founder of The Smallest Things, said: “We are delighted that Medway NHS Foundation Trust has signed up to our Employer with Heart charter and will give parents of babies born prematurely the extra time they need. Visiting a fragile baby on a neonatal 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.”

Find out more about the charter, information for employers and employees here – The Smallest Things Employer with Heart Charter

More than 219,000 people have signed the change.org petition calling upon Government to ensure that all families have the extra time they need following premature birth

For all enquires please contact e. smallestthings@yahoo.com