I recognise that parents of sick and premature babies are in an extremely difficult and distressing position. Over 100,000 babies are admitted into neonatal care each year, many of whom are born prematurely.
The Government recently supported the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act which requires regulations to provide that eligible parents can take neonatal care leave and pay within at least a 68-week window following a child’s birth. This is designed to ensure that mothers and fathers have sufficient time to take their neonatal care leave on top of or after other leave rights to which they may be entitled. The Act will realise an important commitment from the Government to create a new statutory leave and pay entitlement for the parents of babies receiving neonatal care. That means that employed parents who find themselves in this desperate situation in future will know that, as a minimum, they are entitled to time off work to care for their babies and that they will not suffer detriment from their employer as a result.