Lisa backs plans to extend leave for parents of premature babies

Lisa backs plans to extend leave for parents of premature babies

Parents of premature babies could be allowed extra time off work under proposals backed by Wigan MP Lisa Nandy. Current rules mean that parents have to start their maternity and paternity leave as soon as a child is born but parents argue that this fails to account for the extra care requirements of premature babies.

The Maternity and Paternity Leave (Premature Birth) Bill will be presented as a Ten Minute Rule Motion in the House of Commons on Wednesday 26th October. The Bill will amend the Employment Rights Act to allow extended leave for parents of babies born prematurely. Over 100,000 people have signed a petition supporting the campaign.

Figures show that over 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year, putting extra financial and emotional pressure on thousands of families. Babies born too soon also start their development at an earlier stage, meaning they require extra care. With this not possible under current laws, parents often have to leave their job and lose further income.

All of this means families of premature babies face huge challenges:

  • Parents of premature babies face over £2,000 in extra costs, because of the need for travel to and from the hospital, childcare for other children, and lost wages while they cannot work
  • 4 in 10 mothers will suffer postnatal depression if their baby is born prematurely – compared to 1 in 10 mothers of full term babies
  • One third of neo-natal units have no psychological support – meaning thousands of parents are left to cope on their own

The next step for the Bill will be to receive a date for its second reading – a full debate on the proposals.

Speaking about the proposals, Lisa said: “Giving birth early can be an incredibly stressful experience and we need a change in the laws around maternity leave to recognise the emotional and financial strains of a premature birth.

“Many parents who have a premature baby are forced to choose between going back to work or leaving their job to care for their child. There is cross-party support for these proposals and I’m hopeful that this campaign will continue to attract support.”

The petition calling for the change can be found here:

October 24, 2016 By : Category: News Print