IPG Mediabrands has officially launched extended paid leave for UK staff with premature babies.
The policy is part of the group’s "Open" culture programme aimed at providing a more agile and flexible working life for employees.
IPG Mediabrands, which has 950 staff in the UK across agencies including Initiative and UM London, said that it hopes this will alleviate some of the financial stress and pressure that come with premature birth and paid leave for new parents.
The package provides fully paid leave for parents of babies born before week 37 from the day their baby is born up until their due date (week 40). From week 40, the standard company maternity/paternity leave entitlement begins.
IPG Mediabrands has also increased maternity and paternity pay, and is encouraging dads to take extra time off for paternity leave. In addition, the company has committed to extra support for parents and have introduced "return to work" coaching for new parents.
The network’s standard maternity leave is six months fully paid. For paternity leave, it’s two months of full pay. Under UK law, maternity and paternity leave starts the day after birth with statutory pay for 39 weeks.
Additional policies that have been introduced over the past 12 months include sabbaticals and agile working.
Sophia Durrani, managing partner for strategy at UM, said: "As a mother to twins who spent their first seven weeks in neonatal care, I can speak from experience about the emotional roller-coaster parents of preemies face in those early weeks and months. It is an experience like no other, often traumatic and overwhelming."
The Smallest Things charity, which calls for the government to give all parents with premature babies extended leave, has awarded IPG Mediabrands the "Employer with Heart" charter mark as a result of these policy changes.