22 July 2019
- Nationwide is offering extended maternity leave to employees when their baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy
- The policy provides second parent 4-weeks hospital leave to support their partner and family
- Policy designed in consultation with Nationwide Group Staff Union (NGSU) and employees who’ve had children prematurely and is available now to all employees who need it
Nationwide Building Society has become the first high street financial services provider to sign the Employers with Heart charter, awarded by premature baby charity, The Smallest Things. It follows a major change to their premature birth policy as they continue their commitment to providing family-friendly employment policies to all employees.
An initiative led by the NGSU, the new policy will see extra support given to employees who have babies before the 37th week of pregnancy. It means that employees can focus entirely on their family, during a difficult time, without the worry of having to return to work too soon.
Signing the Employers with Heart Charter demonstrates Nationwide’s continued commitment to a family-friendly working environment and sits alongside other family-focused policies such as; family support leave and bereavement leave.
Faye Whitmarsh, Nationwide’s Head of Culture & Engagement said: “Becoming a parent is an exciting time, but we know it doesn’t always go to plan. Our premature birth policy provides greater support for families when they need it most and we’re delighted to be recognised as an ‘Employer with Heart’ by a wonderful charity. We’re proud of the fact this policy was designed in partnership with the NGSU and Nationwide employees who recently experienced a premature birth. We hope that other employers will review and update their premature birth policies, given the extra support it can provide families.”
Laura Rowe, Mum to twins and Nationwide employee said: “My twins spent their first 103 days in hospital having gone into labour three and half months early. I took three months of unpaid leave from work to have more time at home. I’m delighted to have helped design Nationwide’s new premature birth policy. It is such an emotional time but being able to focus entirely on your family and not worry about going back to work early will be a massive relief to families going through this in future.”
Catriona Ogilvy, founder and trustee of The Smallest Things, said: “We are delighted that Nationwide has created a policy that recognises and supports families of premature babies and to award them our ‘Employer with Heart’ accreditation. The policy will provide parents with precious extra time to bond with their babies and be at home for longer with them, especially important during a potentially traumatic and distressing time. As the government announces its consultation plans on extending parental leave, we urge them to look to Nationwide as a leading example of compassionate policy change for mums, dads and partners going through terrifying times.”
David Linden MP, Member of Parliament for Glasgow East, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Sick and Premature Babies, said: "Hats off to Nationwide for leading the way and signing up to this amazing scheme. Nationwide has now laid down the gauntlet to other financial service providers and I hope they will quickly follow suit. The birth of a premature or sick baby is an incredibly distressing time and it's important that all employers recognise this and give their staff the support they need - just as Nationwide has done."