Employer with Heart Charter

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Conference
2020 National Women's Conference
Date
22 October 2019
Decision
Carried

Conference notes that:Women who give birth prematurely, currently have the same amount of maternity leave as a woman whose pregnancy goes full term. A woman who has a premature baby would have to start their 12 month maternity leave from the day of the birth, regardless of whether they are already on maternity leave.Babies born prematurely usually suffer significant health problems and are likely to stay in hospital at least until their due date and will likely have ongoing needs, that means returning to hospital and need extra care at home.Whilst the baby is attending hospital women can in turn, suffer financial detriment due to extra travel costs, eating out, parking charges, childcare costs for siblings and if partners have to take unpaid leave from their job.Women are also at a higher risk of suffering from post-natal depression. Some women have to wait weeks until they can even hold their baby let alone take the baby home and this can make the time of the maternity leave seem even shorter, as women would have less time actually having the valuable time at home sharing new experiences.�The Smallest Things Charity� promotes the good health of premature babies and their families. They have devised a charter called �Employer with Heart� for employers to sign up to, which gets employers to agree to extend maternity leave at full pay, by the number of days that a baby is born before their due date. The charter also gives partners at least two weeks compassionate leave and offer support when returning to work.Conference asks that The National Women�s Committee:1)Raise awareness of The Smallest Things Charity to give women an opportunity to seek support. 2)Raise awareness of �Employer with Heart� charter by publishing on the UNISON national website and publishing an article in the UNISON�s activist�s magazine.3)Gather statistics regarding women who experience premature births.4)Campaign for all employers to sign up to the charter.