Case Study: Inclusive Policies and Benefits
I’m Dan Eardley, I work as a Solution Architect, and have been with Atos for six years now. My daughter Eleanor Grace Eardley was born on 15th August 2020 at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, weighing 5lb14oz.
At our 20-week scan, we were told that our baby had Spina Bifida. It was completely unexpected, and resulted in a lot of ‘Googling’, countless hospital appointments & scans,
“This was so important for me, in getting to spend time with my daughter outside of an incubator, but also for supporting my wife.”
and culminated in a trip to Belgium (during the Coronavirus pandemic) for my wife and baby to undergo fetal surgery to repair baby’s spine. The fetal surgery is quite incredible, but it carries a lot of risk, and it is too dangerous to then carry the baby to full term – so we had a c-section planned at 37 weeks. They don’t allow the pregnancy to go beyond 37 weeks, but it is still very likely that baby will arrive before this point – which she did. Eleanor arrived at 35 weeks and spent a week on the NICU at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, then another week on the neonatal surgical ward at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Atos’ prematurity baby leave policy had a massively beneficial impact for these first few weeks. I was able to take additional paid time off work to support my wife and daughter, while Ellie was in hospital. Due to the ongoing pandemic, visiting was restricted throughout our hospital stay, and so the support family and friends could provide was limited – the policy meant I was able to be available the entire time, and fully focus on the wellbeing of my family. Crucially, it meant I was also able to spend time at home with Ellie, when she was discharged from hospital. This was so important for me, in getting to spend time with my daughter outside of an incubator, but also for supporting my wife, who had gone through an incredibly tough pregnancy.
I hope nobody finds themselves in a similar situation to ours. If you do receive a Spina Bifida diagnosis, the first thing I would say is don’t panic – there are a lot of factors that can impact severity, and there are options to limit the impact of the condition. If your baby arrives prematurely for any reason, then it is a given that you should certainly make use of the prematurity leave – it is a fantastic offering from Atos that really can make a big difference in the first few weeks.