The Government is to announce plans for neonatal baby leave for parents of babies born prematurely in this week’s Budget.
Plans for parents of babies needing neonatal care to receive up to 12 weeks’ extra paid leave are to be unveiled in this week’s Budget.
Announcing the news, Kemi Badenoch MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Equalities said that the Government will “bring in an historic new entitlement ensuring parents having to take time off work because they have a sick baby will get paid parental leave. This will be in addition to the usual maternity and paternity leave, and finally give parents the time, the resources and the space to handle these difficult circumstances.
“So if their baby is in care for more than a week, they will be able to claim statutory paid leave for every week the baby is in care, to a maximum of 12. The leave will be paid at a rate of around £160 per week.
“We know that almost 40,000 babies born in Great Britain each year have to spend more than a week in neonatal care. And a survey of parents affected found that 80 per cent of them reported that their mental health suffered as a result.
“As with existing parental leave, the government will incur almost all of the cost, rather than businesses.”
Catriona Ogilvy, founder and chair of The Smallest Things which has been campaigning for the change since 2015, said, “We’ve done it! As parents who spent the first days, weeks or months of our children’s lives in neonatal intensive care units, we are over the moon that the worry of work and pay will be eased for the incubator-watchers who follow in our footsteps. As a charity, we are delighted that our hard work and campaigning has paid off. This will make a difference to so many families at the toughest times in their lives when the health of their babies needs to be a top priority.”