November is Premature Birth Awareness Month, which aims to spread understanding of the condition when a baby is born within the first 37 weeks of a pregnancy.
Every year in America, about 380,000 babies are born prematurely, according to the March of Dimes association. As an employer, there are a number of ways you can help employees who are coping with a premature birth.
Provide More Time Off
Stress levels are high for parents with a premature baby. Daily routines can become unmanageable when parents have to worry about their newborn baby’s potentially life-threatening conditions. Parents must also make time for frequent visits to the newborn intensive care unit. You can help reduce some of their anxiety by allowing extended time off from work. They’ll appreciate the gesture, and will likely be more productive upon returning to their regular routine.
Offer the Option to Work From Home
It is often unknown how long a premature baby will be kept in the NICU. Therefore, consider allowing your employees to work from home during this time.
Parents with a premature baby in the hospital are likely to be consumed by their baby’s well-being. They won’t be mentally prepared to drive to work or sit in the office. If you are flexible with employees during this difficult time, it will benefit both the individual and the workplace.
Implement Informational Programs
Information on premature birth—and steps that can be taken to prevent it—can be useful to your employees. The March of Dimes’ Healthy Babies Healthy Business program is free for employers and provides guidance to help improve pregnancy outcomes. For moms-to-be or those considering having children within your workforce, offering informational programs is a great way to show your support.
During Premature Birth Awareness Month, reflect on how you can help your employees handling a premature birth and take one step closer to a better society and workforce.