London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, awareded The Smallest Things ‘Employer with Heart’

The Smallest Things are delighted that London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is pledging his support for staff whose babies are born premature or require neonatal intensive care.

Welcoming the news, Catriona Ogilvy, The Smallest Things Founder and Chair said,

“We are pleased that the Mayor has taken this ground-breaking step of recognising and supporting families of premature babies and that City Hall has been awarded our ‘Employer with Heart’ accreditation.

“Visiting a premature baby on a neonatal intensive care unit is a traumatic, distressing time for parents without the added worry of work and pay. It certainly shouldn’t count as parental leave. The Mayor’s new policy gives parents precious time to bond with their fragile babies outside of the hospital environment and take care of them at home for longer. We are delighted that Sadiq is joining The Smallest Things in encouraging all employers to provide extended leave to parents of premature babies.”

The ‘Employer with Heart’ charter, launched by The Smallest Things Charity in February 2018, asks employers to extend paid leave for a mother by the number of days her baby was born premature, and to offer an additional 2 weeks paid leave for their partner. Current UK legislation sees a mothers statutory maternity leave begin the day after a baby is born premature, often weeks and months before a baby is able to leave hospital.

Announcing the news the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“Becoming a parent should be an exciting time, but unfortunately for some parents it can also be a difficult and emotional experience. It is only right that employers give new parents the time and support they need to adjust to this momentous change in their lives and to support their return to work.

“I am pleased to set out our plans for how this can be done at City Hall, and I encourage other employers to learn from the approach we are taking and think about how best they can support new parents. London is a city of opportunity for all. We should do everything can to give hardworking and talented parents the support they need to thrive in the workplace, and the support children need to get the best start in life.”

London City Hall follows in the footsteps of local authorities such as Walham Forest, Croydon, Cheshire West and Chester, Southwark, South Ayrshire and Haringey Councils, as well as NHS Trusts including Medway Foundation Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals. In the summer Paloma Faith, welcoming the news that music giant Sony UK were adopting The Smallest Things recommendations, called for all UK employers to support parents following premature birth.

Find out how you can sign up to The Smallest Things ‘Employer with Heart’ charter here.

For more information, contact

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