UK charity serving to corporations to help staff via being pregnant and parenting challenges
As New Zealand’s miscarriage funeral leave legislation sparks debate, leading UK charity Tommy’s has launched a new service to help employers provide parents with the right support on complex pregnancy travel, from planning and parenting to complications and losses.
Some organizations are now introducing guidelines on pregnancy loss, but Pregnancy and Parenting in the Workplace (PPAW) goes further and is being guided by Tommy’s midwives and other experts to fill any gaps between policy and practice. A recent study by Tommy found that two-thirds (69%) of parents felt that their manager wanted to support them, but only one-third (34%) said they actually knew how to do it , PPAW will help members like Virgin Red and Arqiva start discussions and ensure that employers’ intentions really translate into employee experiences.
An estimated 1 in 4 UK parents lose a baby : the same number of people suffering from mental health problems each year, both of which can have lasting effects. Even losses in early pregnancy can take weeks to physically recover and emotionally it can take much longer; A study by Tommy’s National Center for Miscarriage Research found that 20% of losses still leave symptoms of post-traumatic stress even 9 months later, and both parents can struggle with it .
Although so many people are affected at such a deep level, few employers have processes or support for employees going through them Baby loss; This can lead to managers having difficulty finding help for someone in need and a general fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. Mothers who lose a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy in the UK can take maternity leave, but most losses happen much sooner if parents haven’t even told their employer – and unlike in New Zealand, any time off would have to be left as sick.
Up to 1 in 3 employees are pregnant or planning to become pregnant at a certain point in time , and while not everyone is comfortable revealing this at work, the tendency to have families later in life means that people are more likely to have problems and may need support. For example the physical and emotional challenges of Infertility Treatment can be increased in workplaces where presentationalism is valued; 80% of people who went through it said they felt stressed from having to attend medical appointments and the effects on their work .
Even after a healthy pregnancy, the return to work can be a stumbling block for parents without the right support. Up to 60% of working women currently leave the company within one year of their return to work , and more than half (52%) of working parents told Tommy’s that they would or would have quit because of a lack of support during their pregnancy  – but those who feel supported are more likely to stay with their employer and often show more loyalty and commitment .
PPAW members can access online training modules from Tommy’s experts to help them identify and meet parenting needs, even in complex situations like losing a baby. In addition to the obvious employee health and wellbeing benefits, PPAW can fuel the efforts of companies looking to improve their diversity, equality and inclusion. Members will also narrow their gender pay gap as they are well placed to attract, retain and develop female talent.
Organizations receive special accreditation from Tommy’s for actively offering: increased maternity and paternity benefits and / or vacation; Policy of compassionate leave, in which miscarriages are mentioned in particular, and 1: 1 discussions with employees about the support required after the loss of absence arrangements with flexible leave of absence due to fertility treatment; flexible working hours and other family-friendly measures; Training for supervisors to support parents on every pregnancy trip.
Jane Brewin, Tommy CEO, stated, “The Pregnancy Journey Is Profound Tommy’s General Manager Jane Brewin commented,” The pregnancy journey is deeply personal so everyone has their own unique needs and that can make it difficult for even the most supportive of jobs to know how to do it to help – especially when things don’t go according to plan. You don’t have to tell your employer until week 25 that you are pregnant. Many people struggling with fertility or loss may not have told anyone at work, which can mean they feel unable to seek support. It’s fantastic that companies are partnering with Tommys to address these complex issues and to let their employees know that they will be supported on every pregnancy journey. “
HR consultant Saffron Gallacher explains: “The loss of a baby is one of the most heartbreaking events a parent will ever experience and it can affect every area of their life. The role that the workplace plays can be critical; As an employer and as a colleague, it is important that we do everything in our power to avoid increasing stress and anxiety during this time. Creating an environment that is supportive, understanding, and empathic is imperative – but it can be a delicate path, and there is no silver bullet. Knowing what to say is hard, but not saying anything is worse. Knowing how we can support and what our commitments are is the first step. “
Kate Kendall of PPAW member Virgin Red’s People Team added, “As an organization where we want people from all walks of life to feel valued and prosperous, we are determined to be a supportive workplace for all parents, regardless of theirs Circumstances. We want to be there for people during important life events like pregnancy and, sadly, losses when it happens – but even with the best of intentions it can be difficult to know what to say or do, so we are excited to partner with Tommy is for his expert guidance in these complex situations. “
For more information, visit tommys.org/work or search for #WorkingForChange on @tommys social networks.