45% of employers do not offer a neonatal leave policy

neonatal leave policyEmployee Benefits poll: Almost half (45%) of organisations do not offer their workforce a neonatal leave policy, according to a survey of Employee Benefits readers.

Just under one in 10 (8.6%) said they do offer a neonatal leave policy, while 19% do not currently but are planning to introduce one and 27.5% are unaware if they have one or not.

Last month, Employee Benefits reported that the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act, which was introduced by Stuart C McDonald MP, received Royal Assent. Once in force, this government-backed bill will allow eligible employed parents whose newborn baby is admitted to neonatal care to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave, so that they can spend more time with their baby. This is in addition to maternity and paternity leave.

In addition, retailer Marks and Spencer introduced a neonatal policy with immediate effect to allow those with babies who need neonatal care to benefit from extra leave and pay without using up maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

The policy was launched as part of a focus on providing more support and flexibility to staff to avoid missing out on moments that matter. It provides up to 12 weeks of fully paid leave to any UK employee whose baby requires specialist neonatal care.

Sarah Findlater, group HR director at Marks and Spencer, said: “We want to do all we can to support staff who find themselves in this heart-breaking situation and we hope the introduction of neonatal leave will provide some peace of mind so that their focus can be on their baby without having to worry about pay or using up their maternity, paternity or adoption leave.”