In this week’s budget on the 11/03/20, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer is to announce that parents of premature babies will be able to claim an extra £160 a week, for a maximum of 12 weeks whilst the baby is in neonatal care.
This announcement follows Catriona Ogilvy’s campaign, a mother who gave birth to her son 10 weeks early and then petitioned the Government to extend parental leave after a premature birth. Her campaign was backed by more than 350,000 people.
Current law states that maternity and paternity leave kicks in the day after the birth of the child, despite whether the baby is premature or not. Kemi Badenoch, treasury minister has explained that the Government will pay for the extra leave not the employer.
Ms Ogilvy’s campaign saw the Mayor of London, Sony Music and Nationwide all adopt policies to give their staff extra leave if their babies are born early.
Ms Badenoch said:
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.
Ms Ogilvy said:
As parents who have spent the first days, weeks or months of our children’s lives in a neonatal intensive care unit, we are over the moon that the worry of work and pay will be eased for the incubator-watchers who follow in our footsteps.
This will make a difference to many families at the toughest times in their lives when the health of their babies needs to be top priority.