NHS Trust launches new sector leading policy to provide paid leave for parents experiencing baby loss and premature birth as part of Maternal Health Awareness Month

Published: 10 May 2023 to 31 December 2098

your leave plus

An NHS Trust that runs services across Hull and East Yorkshire has launched a sector leading Leave Policy offering paid leave for pregnancy loss and the premature arrival of new babies.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust provides services across Hull and East Yorkshire including mental health support and treatment and the 0-19 service which incorporating health visiting and school nursing.

Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month is dedicated to talking about mental health problems during and after pregnancy. The new policies have been launched as part of an enhanced leave package called ‘Your Leave Plus’ which brings together all leave into an inclusive new offering aimed at supporting staff health and wellbeing with a focus on pregnancy and parenting.

Claire Marshall a Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Nurse and Trust employee who supports women in the area during pregnancy and the postnatal period said:

“Supporting women and their families in their reproductive journeys including the surprises, challenges and losses that they may face along the way is critical to ensuring a supportive and healthy organisation. Offering additional paid leave to staff affected by fertility treatment, premature birth and pregnancy loss and bereavement is a compassionate move by our organisation and will mean that families can have some space and time to adjust at a critical life point.”

One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, however, under current legislation, there's no legal right to maternity or parental bereavement leave. The Trust’s new ‘Pregnancy Loss Leave’ entitles anyone who loses a pregnancy before the 24th week, two weeks paid leave to grieve and process their loss. The partner of a person who was pregnant is entitled to up to five days paid leave.

Sam Catanach, Founder of Hull based charity Chasing Rainbows whose peer support groups support women going through recurrent miscarriage and early pregnancy loss said:

“We fully support ‘Your Leave Plus’ and the acknowledgement that the Trust will be there for their people when they need it the most. Pregnancy loss no matter how early or late into a pregnancy must be seen as a bereavement and not a medical situation or sickness.”

A further new addition, ‘Early Childbirth Leave’ means that ff your baby is born early you will receive additional maternity leave at full pay, and partners will receive an additional two weeks at full pay’. Full pay will be offered until 40 weeks at which time maternity leave will begin allowing new parents to be by their babies’ side, without having to worry about which leave entitlements will cover that period. An additional two weeks is offered in addition to paternity leave and pay for partners.

Michele Moran, Chief Executive said:

“As a Midwife and Health Visitor by practice, the mental and physical health and wellbeing of babies and their families is something I am passionate about.

I am extremely proud to launch You Leave Plus and to support our workforce, not only the 79% of them who are women but also their partners whose support it vital to their physical and emotional recovery.

This is just one of the ways that we are putting into practice our promise to our team that their wellbeing at work is our priority.”

These new leave types are included in a new leave package called ‘Your Leave Plus’ which includes a new range of paid leave to support staff to choose the right type of leave for their circumstances. The package also includes paid time off for fertility treatment, a birthday day off and a range of other types of special leave.

As part of the launch the Trust are the second NHS Trust to be accredited as a Tommy’s Pregnancy and Parenting at Work Champion, with the ambition to become one of the leading organisations in the UK raising the standard of pregnancy care and support in the workplace.

Rosie Leverton, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Tommys said:

“1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss, but the persisting stigma and silence around pregnancy and baby loss can make it difficult for parents to access the support they need, especially from their workplace.

By partnering with Tommy’s, Humber Teaching are making a commitment to creating an open and supportive culture around pregnancy, no matter the journey. We know the demands NHS workers are under. Having support in place is so important for ensuring all employees access the care they need to have a healthy pregnancy.

Thank you for helping to create a cultural shift which promotes greater openness, understanding and empathy in the workplace for those who need support during their pregnancy journey.”   

To acknowledge their support for staff whose baby is born prematurely the Trust have also signed the ‘Employer with Heart’ Charter, run by the charity ‘The Smallest Things’ who promote the good health of premature babies and their families.

Catriona Ogilvy, Chair and Founder of The Smallest Things said:

"We are thrilled to award Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust with our Employer with Heart charter mark. These changes will mean that their staff will not need to worry about work or money following the birth of a baby born prematurely and will give back precious time to parents to be with their baby or babies once they come home. We hope to see many more UK employers making these important changes, going above and beyond new statutory requirements outlined in the Neonatal (Leave and Pay) Bill to support parents through the trauma of neonatal care and beyond."

Steve McGowan, Director or Workforce and Organisational Development said:

“We want to create a culture of openness around employees’ wellbeing and promote more open and meaningful workplace conversations on pregnancy and parenting – including complications, fertility treatment, premature birth, and baby loss.

The launch of this policy is important to raise awareness of the types of leave we offer as an anchor employer in the area. However, what is also important is how we embed this with our teams with the training and support needed to ensure that real change takes place beyond launch day.”

  • Summary:

    NHS Trust launches new sector leading policy to provide paid leave for parents experiencing baby loss and premature birth as part of Maternal Health Awareness Month.

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