World Prematurity Day
What is World Prematurity Day?
World Prematurity Day raises awareness of premature births and the impact to families. Premature births occur for 1 in every 13 babies born in the UK, so it is important to understand what this can mean for the baby, its parents, and their wider family. This day aims to raise the awareness required to reduce the number of premature births and the number of deaths that result from it.
World Prematurity Day is held on the 17th of November every year.
World Prematurity Day and Employment
Organisations may employ parents of premature babies, and due to the unpredictability of the birth scenario, it can be hard to plan for reactively. Employers should have in place a predetermined plan to communicate with parents and support them should this eventuality occur. Employers need to think about:
- Communication – make sure this is sensitive to the situation and ask what the best channel of communication is for them and then use this to communicate. It also may be against the parents wishes to announce the birth to the organisation and this should be discussed with the parents when appropriate.
- Recognition of the birth – depending on the health of the baby and the predicted recovery period, it may not be appropriate to send a congratulations, but something to recognise the arrival and show support should be offered over not showing any recognition.
- Financial support – there are already guidelines for SMP and SPL, including what happens in the event of stillbirth, or a baby passes away. However, organisations should think about their enhanced paternity and maternity package and review what is offered to parents of premature babies, to relieve the burden of finances on parents who are already struggling with the premature birth of their baby and as consequence possible short- or long-term health problems.
- Time off – there are already guidelines for SML and SPL, including what happens in the event of stillbirth, or a baby passes away. However, organisations should think about their enhanced maternity and paternity leave and review what is offered to parents of premature babies.
- Flexibility – flexibility may be required into the future as premature babies are more likely to suffer ongoing health issues. Think about what flexibility is available and communicate the organisations policy to ensure parents are aware.
- Support organisations – Highlight the support available and include any service the organisation is connected to such as EAP’s or wellbeing platforms.