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Theresa May bows out with a consultation paper on proposed changes to parental leave, including a new right for parents of premature babies.
Prime Minister Theresa May is launching a consultation on proposed changes to parental leave entitlements, including more leave for parents of premature babies.
The consultation sets out plans for a new Neonatal Leave and Pay entitlement for parents of premature and sick babies who need to spend a prolonged period in neonatal care following birth.
Under the proposal, parents would receive one week of Neonatal Leave and Pay for every week that their baby is in hospital. This would be available to mothers, fathers and partners.
The consultation states that the new entitlement would mean that fathers and partners will no longer need to rely on taking annual and unpaid leave if their child is in hospital for longer than their paternity leave period. It would also provide them with additional time at home with their child to make up for the time spent in hospital.
The Government says that in the UK, an estimated 100,000 babies are admitted to neonatal care every year following their birth. For fathers and partners, typically their whole two weeks of Paternity Leave is spent with the mother and baby in hospital. Where a baby is kept in neonatal care for longer than two weeks, a Bliss survey found that around 36% of fathers and partners were signed off sick while their baby was in neonatal care.
The consultation is also calling for views on how the Shared Parental Leave system to encourage more dads to take leave, including asking whether statutory Paternity leave for fathers and same sex partners should be changed.The Prime Minister has floated the idea of extending paid paternity leave to 12 weeks, possibly restricted to dads who earn less than £100,000. The consultation will also ask whether employers should publish their leave and pay and flexible working policies and whether there should be a requirement for employers to consider advertising jobs as flexible.