On 15 July 2022, the government backed new legislation to allow parents whose babies require specialist care after birth to be given additional paid time of work.
A baby who is born prematurely or sick will receive neonatal care in hospital or another agreed care setting – often for a prolonged period. This can leave parents in a position of having to use their existing leave entitlement or having to return to work while their baby is still receiving hospital care.
Stuart C McDonald MP introduced Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, that has now been backed by the government which will allow parents to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave, in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave.
Once the bill has been approved and in law, neonatal care leave will be available to employees from their first day of employment and will apply to parents of babies who are admitted into hospital up to the age of 28 days, and who have a continuous stay in hospital of 7 full days or more.
Stuart C McDonald, MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East said:
“No parent should have to choose between being with their premature or sick baby in neonatal care and having to return to work to earn a living; or enjoying the full benefits of parental leave and going back to work.
With the cost of living soaring, it is more important than ever that we secure an urgent change in the law so that parents of babies in neonatal care get the paid leave and support they need at an incredibly challenging time.
I’m delighted to bring forward this Bill with the backing of Bliss and families across Scotland and the UK.”
Chief executive, Caroline Lee-Davey has confirmed that they will endeavour to ensure that this Bill becomes law as quickly as possible.