Campaign steps up for extended leave for parents of premature babies

Campaigners have stepped up their action to get the Government to extend leave for parents of premature babies.

Premature Baby


The campaign to extend parental leave for parents of premature babies steps up a level today after an open letter from charities and MPs was sent to the Government.

Premature baby charity The Smallest Things, MPs David Linden MP and Rachel Reeves as well as charities Bliss [for premature babies] and TAMBA [Twins And Multiple Births Association] signed an open letter that urges business minister Kelly Tolhurst to publish the findings from a review into parental leave for families of premature, sick and multiple babies.

The Smallest Things has met officials from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on several occasions and met with Kelly Tolhurst in December 2018. It has also organised for supporters of the charity to attend focus groups so that the government could hear first-hand what it is like to have a premature baby or babies in neonatal care.

In addition, The Smallest Things supported a parental leave survey sent out by Bliss in February 2019 that found 77% of parents of premature or sick babies felt their leave wasn’t long enough.

Catriona Ogilvy, founder and chair of trustees of The Smallest Things, said: “While some employers are taking the lead in supporting working parents of premature babies by signing up to our Employer with Heart charter, the government has been slow to take action to ensure all families of premature babies have access to extended leave. We urge the government to act now so that all parents have the time to bond with their babies and have a better chance of returning to work successfully after the trauma of time on a neonatal unit.

“There are thousands of babies receiving specialist care in neonatal units today, which means terrified parents worrying about their little ones’ health and future. We don’t believe work or pay should be added to those worries.”

The Smallest Things has been campaigning for extended parental leave for families or premature babies since 2014 and its #NotMatLeave petition has now been signed by over 333,000 people.

Comments [1]

  • Debbie Agius says:

    These are very very difficult times for parents with premature babies. My granddaughter was born 17 weeks early having to be transferred 3 times. This is vital time for parents and need to have thier leave extended

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