Labour’s Cllr Kim Clements has won support from across Suffolk County Council as they agreed to help new mothers and fathers by providing extra maternity and paternity leave and pay to its employees should they have a premature baby.
The motion was agreed at the council meeting on the 6th December and means the administration has confirmed it will incorporate extra paid maternity and paternity leave into the council employees’ terms and conditions.
The move has been made as part of ‘The Smallest Things’ campaign in which a number of other councils and companies have introduced the policy to support employees at this most difficult at times.
Many individuals face increased financial hardship simply as a result of having a premature baby, something the Labour Group feels is morally wrong. Often specialist baby units are a long distance from home and the pressure of having to work and be with your premature baby and family means people have to choose between being with their baby or going into work.
Cllr Clements said; “I am delighted that this council has taken on board the issues this motion raises. There are just a handful of people that this affects, but the impact that these issues have is enormous. Parents should not have to chose between their children and work and this motion promises to do this.
“The fact that the council will implement full pay for the number of weeks premature a baby arrives is a real success for us. The costs that are incurred by parents of premature babies is on average of over £2,000. Costs are incurred because parents have to pay for travel costs, hospital parking and meals in the hospital canteen, all of which are because parents have to travel to and from the hospital their baby is in which can be as far away as Addenbrookes or Norwich.
“I am delighted that the council can support the motion and negotiate with the unions and staff boards to implement this change. This is the best Christmas present some people can receive.”