Marks and Spencer (M&S) has launched a new neonatal leave policy as part of its commitment to being “a great place to work for families”.
Effective immediately, the retailer is offering employees whose babies need specialist neonatal care up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
According to M&S, the initiative will “give families of premature babies or babies that need additional care when they are born, extra leave and pay to spend vital time with their new-born without colleagues having to worry about work or using up their maternity, paternity, or adoption leave”.
The policy was introduced after an employee revealed she had spent six months of her maternity leave in hospital with her baby who had been born prematurely.
Sarah Findlater, group HR director at M&S, explained the business was continually listening to colleagues to make sure it supports the workforce through all of life’s unexpected moments.
She said: “We know that being a parent of a baby who requires neonatal care is an incredibly worrying time and that time may be spent with their baby in hospital, rather than at home. We want to do all we can to support colleagues 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.”
Last year, M&S introduced a flexible working initiative, Worklife, to help support staff in achieving a good work-life balance. The provision helped more than 3,000 retail staff chose from options including spreading their hours over five days, working a four-day compressed week or nine-day compressed fortnight. All employees can also use a Job Share Finder platform which can help them find matches for a job share arrangement.
The business also launched a dedicated fertility treatment policy, offering employees up to 10 days of leave to attend appointments for a maximum of three rounds of treatment.