ACAS has recently published advice for employers on how to support parents who have given birth to premature or sick babies. As you would expect the normal processes for communication and paperwork gathering need to be dealt with carefully in such a delicate situation.
The advice for workplace support for parents with premature or sick babies includes:
- Handling all communication with compassion and sensitivity – for example when requesting confirmation of the date of birth and a completed MAT B1 form so that maternity pay can start
- Using discretion when passing information to other employees – preferably asking the parents in advance what they would like to be said
- Advising of statutory entitlements to leave such as Shared Parental Leave and Pay
- Giving flexibility with return to work arrangements and giving time off when needed for subsequent medical appointments or treatment
- Discussing options such as additional annual leave, special leave, unpaid leave, sick leave or flexible working where they might be appropriate.
If the worst should happen and the baby is stillborn after 24 weeks or is born but subsequently dies, the mother will still be entitled to full maternity leave and the father paternity leave. Under these circumstances employers will need to be particularly sensitive. The Government has recently published a draft Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill that will give parents who lose a child under 18 two weeks paid Bereavement Leave. It is expected to become law at some point in 2020.
If you have an employee going through this difficult time and need advice on how to handle the situation properly then we are here to help. Call 01245 893400 and contact a member of our employment law team today.
The Backhouse Solicitors Property Team
Tel: 01245 893400