Nationwide Building Society has become the first high street financial services provider to sign the Employers with Heart charter, awarded by premature baby charity, The Smallest Things. It follows a major change to their premature birth policy as they continue their commitment to providing family-friendly employment policies to all employees.

An initiative led by the NGSU, the new policy will see extra support given to employees who have babies before the 37th week of pregnancy. It means that employees can focus entirely on their family, during a difficult time, without the worry of having to return to work too soon.

Signing the Employers with Heart Charter demonstrates Nationwide’s continued commitment to a family-friendly working environment and sits alongside other family-focused policies such as; family support leave and bereavement leave.

Faye Whitmarsh, Nationwide’s Head of Culture & Engagement said: “Becoming a parent is an exciting time, but we know it doesn’t always go to plan. Our premature birth policy provides greater support for families when they need it most and we’re delighted to be recognised as an ‘Employer with Heart’ by a wonderful charity. We’re proud of the fact this policy was designed in partnership with the NGSU and Nationwide employees who recently experienced a premature birth. We hope that other employers will review and update their premature birth policies, given the extra support it can provide families.”

Laura Rowe, Mum to twins and Nationwide employee said: “My twins spent their first 103 days in hospital having gone into labour three and half months early. I took three months of unpaid leave from work to have more time at home. I’m delighted to have helped design Nationwide’s new premature birth policy. It is such an emotional time but being able to focus entirely on your family and not worry about going back to work early will be a massive relief to families going through this in future.”