SOUTH Ayrshire Council has been given national recognition for their policy of additional paternity leave for premature births.

The council pays extra days to their workers who require additional time for their babies being born prematurely. And the support has been commended with the ‘Employer with Heart’ award.

South Ayrshire Council is the first local authority in Scotland that provides the additional support. Premature baby charity The Smallest Things applauded the council for this and stressed the extra days are vital for parents.

Charity Founder, Catriona Ogilvy said: “We’re delighted that South Ayrshire Council has taken these steps to support staff whose babies are born prematurely and are pleased to award them our Employer with Heart.

“Visiting a fragile baby in a neonatal unit for weeks, sometimes months, is terrifying and shouldn’t be counted as maternity or paternity leave.”

Changes to the council’s Special Leave Policy entitle female employees to seven days paid leave for every week a baby is born prematurely. .

Councillor Peter Henderson said: “We’re proud to have been recognised for our positive work to support staff to deal an extremely testing times following the birth of a child.”