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Clare Sellman holding Cottsway's Employer with Heart charter

Boosting support for parents of premature babies

Cottsway has pledged to support employees who become parents of premature babies.

We amended our maternity and paternity leave policies earlier this month meaning that mothers and fathers who work here will be entitled to extra paid leave after a premature birth.

Cottsway has been awarded the Employers with Heart charter by premature baby charity The Smallest Things and has committed to:

  • extend maternity leave for mothers who give birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy;
  • give partners additional paid time off to accommodate time spent at the hospital; and
  • offer support when parents of premature babies return to work.

Employing 150 people, we are the first housing association in the UK to gain the Employer with Heart charter.

Clare Sellman (pictured), head of corporate services, said: “We understand that becoming a parent to a premature baby can mean waiting weeks before you can bring your baby home from hospital and is an extremely distressing time.

“By extending our maternity and paternity leave policies we hope our employees will be able to concentrate on spending precious time bonding with their new born rather than juggling work and home commitments.  

“We’re delighted to be recognised as an Employer with Heart and extremely proud to be the first housing associated to have been accredited with the charter.”

Catriona Ogilvy, founder of The Smallest Things, added: “We are delighted that the Cottsway have signed up to our Employer with Heart charter, leading the way as the first Housing Associated to do so, giving parents of babies born prematurely the extra time they need.

“Visiting a fragile baby on a neonatal unit for weeks, sometimes months, is terrifying and shouldn't be counted as maternity or paternity leave. This extra time will give parents more chance to bond with their babies, take care of them at home for longer and recover from the trauma themselves.”

For more information about the Employer with Heart charter, see The Smallest Things website.

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