Dudley Council to offer support to employees with premature baby
Council bosses in Dudley have vowed to support employees whose babies are born premature and give them time to face challenges that arise.
At a full council meeting on Monday, the authority passed a motion to sign up to the “The Smallest Things Employer with Heart Charter Supporting Parents of Premature Babies.”
This means that the council has committed itself to extend maternity leave, on full pay, for mothers who give birth prematurely by the number of days a baby was born prior to the due date.
The motion also resolved to give partners the time they need to be in hospital, receiving at least two weeks’ paid compassionate leave on the birth of their premature baby. It also pledged support for employees who return to work after babies are born prematurely.
The motion, brought by Conservative Councillor Ruth Buttery, received universal support from all sides of the council chamber, with members giving their own personal emotional reasons for backing it.
Councillor Anne Millward said: “I fully agree with this motion as 32 years ago as an employee of this council I was in this very situation. My son was born eight weeks premature.
“How things were then to how things are now was quite frankly barbaric. We were looked down upon, we were not encouraged to return to our jobs, we were not given the option of job share, part-time. I really love this motion.
“As a leader in the borough we should be working with small firms and other agencies to ensure that this is out through.
Labour Councillor Tim Crumpton said: “For me the public service should lead the way in many of things that happen in our society. So I hope, by passing this notice of motion, Dudley is leading the way with this.
“I would ask the council to see what we can do to help other firms in the borough who we work with and we consider this from the social gain perspective when we look at procurement.”
Councillor Buttery added: “I brought this notice of motion to support council employees who go through the challenge of becoming parents of premature babies.
“I was contacted by a resident in my ward where he and his wife had premature twins, one of whom sadly died after 15 days.
“The support they had from their employer made a real difference to their challenging circumstances and they have since volunteered for this charity.
“As one of the largest employers in our borough who has employees’ welfare at the centre of all that we do, signing up to this charter is a natural decision and step for us to take.”
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