MPs back extended leave for parents of premature babies

Yesterday, Steve Reed MP introduced a bill to parliament, calling for extended parental leave for mothers and fathers of premature babies.

The bill, which has gained cross party support, is now scheduled to be debated on 16 December 2016.

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You can watch again, as Steve Reed MP introduces the #PrematurityBill here.

The campaign is beginning to get the publicity it needs!

Born too soon, mothers of premature babies spend weeks or months of their maternity leave visiting tiny and often critically ill babies in hospital. Steve said;

“Having a premature baby is one of the most traumatic experiences that any parent can go through. Instead of bringing home the healthy baby they had longed for, their tiny baby is put inside an incubator, fighting for its life, surrounded by tubes, wires and bleeping monitors. Instead of holding their baby close, these parents can only watch as their baby struggles to breathe, dependent on life support and intensive care.”

More than 110, 000 people have now signed the petition to extend leave for families of premature babies and the campaign has been receiving high profile media attention.

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Is change is possible?

YES, and the precedent has already been set. New Zealand currently offers extended leave, as well as other European countries such as Finland, Iceland and Croatia.

Will change happen?

YES!  With the support of the public and cross party parliamentary support for the bill, change can happen!

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4 thoughts on “MPs back extended leave for parents of premature babies

  1. nwiggins

    Hello,
    I am so pleased to have found out about this campaign. I raised this issue with Lillian Greenwood MP in 2010 when I unexpectedly found myself redundant after telling my employer that I was pregnant with triplets.

    My pregnancy was extremely difficult and I began to show signs of pre-eclampsia by 5 months. My midwife advised bedrest. The DSS office in Nottingham, however, insisted that I attend fortnightly interviews if I wanted to claim contribution-based job seekers allowance. This involved walking up 3 flights of stairs and by 5 months pregnant I was struggling to do that. The desk clerk was dismissive and said that I shouldn’t be claiming JSA if I couldn’t travel an hours each way by public transport for interviews (which even they admitted would never have resulted in the offer of a job ‘in my condition’) and if I couldn’t walk up the stairs, I clearly wasn’t fit to work. The truth is I wasn’t but I was not given the opportunity to claim sickness benefits instead of JSA.

    I raised the case with Lillian Greenwood, pointing out that multiple birth mothers often deliver by 34 weeks and that maternity leave, maternity allowance and SMP should factor this in. I was told there was nothing she could do as it was policy.

    My triplets were delivered by emergency caesarean at 29 weeks. This was after a threatened deliver at 25 weeks. We were all in intensive care for 10 days then the boys were transferred to low dependency. They were home by 34 weeks and doing well. That is around the time most mums would be going on maternity. Yet, by this time, I had spent 5 weeks in hospital and by my children’s cots, wondering if they would make it.

    This entire period was very stressful. Having an extra month per extra baby, without being penalised would benefit multiple birth babies.

    I hope you can follow this up with Dr Greenwood.

    I would be happy to speak with you about my experience.

    Many thanks
    Mrs Wiggins

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    Reply
  2. Pingback: Premature Baby’s Journey – Henry’s Video Supports the #NotMatLeave Campaign  | The Smallest Things

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  4. Pingback: The #NotMatLeave Camapign: Mums of Premature Babies Meet with Minister Margot James MP | The Smallest Things

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