HR & father of premature baby (posting for traffic)(45 Posts)
My husband's colleague has just had a baby (colleague is the father). Baby is 1.5kg (3.3lb). I was talking to DH about a thread I'd seen not so long ago here with an MP asking about paternity leave (or something similar) and some of the replies about how difficult having a premature baby was with combing work and time off etc. I can't find it.
Subsequently DH wants to make sure that HR go above and beyond for this guy and will double check tomorrow that is happening. I'm posting to ask if you can share any tips from your own experiences about what a good HR could have done for you/your family/a friend.
The father isn't on DH's team anymore, or he'd have more direct input, but DH has a v good relationship with HR so he is certain that he can influence for the good if something's not being done.
Does the colleague have any other dc that need to be considered or is it just this baby? Was it a caesarian? I suppose the key thing is flexibility. If it's just him and partner then they may have periods of time where he needs to be at the hospital at short notice, may need to ferry his partner too and fro etc. He may want to defer paternity leave until the baby comes home.
When I had both my premmies my dh had to get sick notes to cover certain periods of time.
Sorry can't be much help, I know there was a petition around about better mat/pat leave after a preterm birth but I don't know if anything has come of it as yet.
Out of pure curiosity how early was the baby??
I'd keep in mind that HR has differing influence levels in each company, some have full control over policy and on the opposite scale some are simply there to advise and implement Directors wishes. The decision on what to offer may be nothing to do with HR.
IMO a good company/HR would ensure he knows his rights regarding parental leave, flex working for hospital visits, and a staggered return from pat leave, and discretionary paid time off perhaps. But it all depends on the culture of the business. Is it a fairly family friendly company?
I do think the discussions should come from the father though. HR shouldn't really have these discussions with a colleague.
Thanks for the replies.
I am on phone so can't name but to answer some questions.
Baby was due in June but born early due to lack of growth.
Don't know if c-section
No other children
DH isn't wanting to interfere or have any details he shouldn't. The office is a local one (we're not in UK) of a bigger company and they have some flexibility with things done locally. Somebody stepped in on our/DH's behalf when I had a problem with my pregnancy when we arrived. That person is no longer here, so DH wants to just make sure absolutely everything possible is being done.
pinkiepie unless he was so anxious that unable to work, that's fraud. Not a good way to start.
DH is more senior than him - so not colleague as in desk-sharing type.
Would nudging his colleague in the direction of finding out about parental leave do any good? As far as I know all parents are entitled to it and it needs to be taken in a block of at least a month. Unpaid unfortunately. If they're on a low income Family Fund could make a contribution towards expenses - clic Sargent at the hospital can refer. They don't need to be on benefits/tax credits.
Are they on UK terms or local (or those of a third country where the company is based)? That's going to make it hard to advise on specifics.
I work with acutely ill children. Often he parents are too worried or have too much caring responsibilities to work. It's common practice for gps to sign parents off with stress in these circumstances. If your child was in intensive care (which neonatal units are) could you go to work and be safe?
Employers and gps get this and often the only hr mechanism for a bunch of time off is to get signed off.
Our dd was born at 23+6 we were told she wouldn't make it. Spontaneous labour, I nearly died from complications' and because the hospital near us didn't take babies that prem we had to go to another hospital at the other end of Yorkshire (over 3hrs away) so I think doctor did put it down to anxiety and stress. (but if anyone has a premmie they will say while you're at the hospital, just watching your child fight, then having good days and more bad days then yes the anxiety is unbearable)
With our second she wasn't as prem but again we got.moved 2hrs away, (no beds this time) he used his holidays to cover when we got out of NICU and SCBU.
HR Manager here. In my company it wouldn't be my call but I would certainly be able to influence a manager's decision.
Options for me would be:
1. Unpaid parental leave up to 18 weeks
2. Paid leave at manager's discretion (I'm public sector so this would be unlikely but possible in private sector)
3. Employee is signed off as unfit to work due to personal stress and paid sick pay (again, in public sector and sickness is a bit more tolerated than commercial world).
4. Flexible working application temporarily to accommodate flexibility in attending appointments. At management discretion whether this would be with full pay.
As PP have said I wouldn't discuss this with anyone other than the employee. In the nicest way possible nearly everyone will go through a period of stress whilst at work (prem baby, sick child/spouse, marital break up, financial difficulties...) and to go above and beyond sets a dangerous precedent- supporting employees should be the norm but not at expense of business. A 3lb 3oz baby isn't the worst disaster in the world and colleague may prefer to be in work and earning rather than being helpless at hospital.
Unless the baby will be having ops etc there's not a lot he can do. I spent weeks sat by ds reading my kindle (not allowed off the heat mat much so not much to do) .
DPwas allowed to take his paternity leave when ds came home which was great. He just came to the hospital after work to visit and collect me each evening (not allowed to stay with babies in nicu here)
Munchkinmaster- it was the neonatal doc/nurses who suggested my dp to get a sick note, as it was just another stress on top of a very scary/worrying situation.
I am a GP and would sign off in this way if genuinely too anxious to work - but I get asked all the time for sick notes due to wanting time off to care for an ill relative, and that needs to be compassionate/unpaid leave. I've known lots of friends with prem babies who have worked through it or taken unpaid leave or come to some arrangement rather than get signed off sick.
My DH had compassionate leave of 2 weeks and (paternity was after my dd came home). Which he used to go to the gym. All day. Another reason for him being an ex.
When my son was born my dh company just told him to do what he could . My dh is a very good coper and works from home but he had dd to look after while I was in hospital for a month and our baby was in scbu for another month . Not sure what he does but maybe just give him a month off ? They usually let her out on their due date if the baby is ok so maybe ask him to come back a week after the baby is home ?
By the way we visited our son every day and my dh had to drive me because I wasn't allowed to drive due to the c section and it was a 2 hour round trip . It also cost us A lot of money so full pay would be good ..
Criss what is the worst disaster in the world according to you??
Exploded - mixture of local and third country.
All the suggestions are good though because there's really a lot of leeway. I'm passing them all on.
Paid leave might be possible. The company can be very nice, but sometimes a nudge is required.
If baby is sick and in hospital a period of compassionate leave might help so he can take his paternity leave later when baby comes home.
My twins arrived at 26+1 at under 800g each. They were in intensive care for 7 weeks (18 weeks of hospitalisation overall) and it was touch and go for their survival for around 5 weeks. We lived at the hospital in a family room for 7 weeks with lots of 3am phone calls to come and see the girls/speak to the consultant as things were so severe.
My husbands work went totally above and beyond. He had 8 weeks of paid leave, then once I could drive and we went back home, he worked "flexibly" so he could come in for ward rounds etc.
There was no way he could have been at work when our girls were so ill.
I had a 1.5 kg premmie and a section. My husband's paternity leave was used up while our baby was in hospital. She was fairly stable at the end of the two weeks and I was driving by then, so he went straight to work and came straight to the hospital after work each night. We didn't know how long she would be in for at that point. She came out of hospital at 22 days. We didn't get much notice that she was heading towards being ready for discharge - less than a day. My husband then took some annual leave at short notice. His employer was pretty flexible about that. At the end of that he went back to work as normal. She'd been home for a couple of weeks by then and I felt reasonably confident in dealing with her on my own, although she was still teeny tiny.
So we didn't need much from his employer - just some flexibility to let him take his leave at short notice. But we were "lucky" in that our baby didn't have major complications.
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