Richard has welcomed the news that the government is backing a new law to provide additional paid leave to parents whose babies require specialist care after birth.
The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, introduced by Stuart C McDonald MP and backed by government, will allow parents to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave, in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave, so that they can spend more time with their baby at what is a hugely stressful time.
Once in law, neonatal care leave will be available to employees from their first day in a new job 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.
The reforms will be a huge boost for parents across the UK, with up to 12 weeks of paid leave for each parent. Mothers of children who have an extended stay in hospital at the start of their lives often find that 39 weeks of paid maternity leave does not give them enough time with their loved one before they need to go back to work. Similarly, the change in law will ensure fathers and partners have the flexibility to share caring responsibilities by increasing the amount of paid leave they can access beyond the usual 2 weeks of paternity leave. It will also fit alongside Shared Parental Leave, and the flexibility that this provides, which will mean both parents feel able to prioritise their child, and family, in that precious time after birth.
Richard Fuller MP, who attended an event last month to show his support for the Bill, said:
Having a new-born in neonatal care is an incredibly worrying time for parents. No family should also have to agonise about their return to work, or whether they have enough leave in place.
By putting our full weight behind this Bill, the government hopes it can take one concern off the minds of new parents and give them the additional paid time off they need to care for their poorly baby.