The Smallest Things have welcomed Theresa May’s announcement today that government will consult on plans to introduce neonatal parental leave, giving families one additional week of paid leave for every week their baby spends in hospital.
Announcing plans for the neonatal leave the Prime Minister said: “Parents have more than enough on their plates without worrying about their parental leave running out and having to return to work before their precious new born comes home.”
“That’s not fair and it’s not right. So we’re also proposing a new neonatal leave and pay entitlement to make this time a bit easier for parents whose babies need to spend a prolonged period in neonatal care.”
Catriona Ogilvy, Smallest Things Founder and Trustee, welcomed the news: “We are thrilled that the prime minister has announced plans for extending paid leave for parents during a neonatal stay and thank her for listening to the experience of parents first hand.”
“No parent should have to worry about work or finances whilst their new born baby remains in intensive care. Families need this additional time to be with their baby in hospital and to recover from the worry and trauma that having a premature or sick baby brings. We urge the government not to delay on the consultation and to bring about their planned changes as soon as possible for the thousands of families in the UK who need this extra time now.”
Thousands back the campaign
The Smallest Things is a premature baby charity that has campaigned for extended parental leave for mums and dads following premature birth since 2015. More than 340, 000 people have now signed the petition calling on government to extend paid parental leave for parents following premature birth and they were instrumental in the government announcing their 2017 Mothers Day pledge to introduce new ACAS Guidelines on how employers could best support staff whose babies are admitted to neonatal care.
Employers with Heart
The guidelines did not go far enough though and in February 2018 The Smallest Things launched the Employer with Heart charter, asking business not to wait for government to make this change, but to extend leave now for their staff whose babies are born premature.
Organisations from across the UK, employing tens of thousands of staff, have become Employers with Heart, supporting their workforce during difficult and uncertain times.
“It’s so important for new parents to feel supported. In that moment, everything else takes a back seat and it’s wonderful that Sony Music are acknowledging that by introducing this.” Paloma Faith on the news that Sony Music had signed up to The Employer with Heart.
But not all employers have taken up parents requests to afford them this additional time, leaving families devastated. Only legislation from the government can assure that all families have the support they need at this critical time for them and their and babies.
Catriona added, “We look forward to the governments consultation and will work to ensure that the specific needs of premature babies and their families are fully supported in their plans.”
For further details or to contact The Smallest Things premature baby charity, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org