Extra pay for parents of children in neonatal care could be announced

10 March 2020

Another of the announcements expected at budget relates to an additional allowance for the parents of children who are born sick or premature and must remain in neonatal care.

It is thought that the parents of premature babies will receive extra paid leave in addition to the current parental allowances, to ensure that parents don’t spend the majority of their statutory maternity or paternity leave with their child in hospital, and instead get to spend invaluable time with them at home.

The policy will introduce a right to statutory paid leave while a child is in neonatal care for up to a maximum of 12 weeks and will be available to all parents with a newborn child who must remain in care for a duration of over a week. Currently, there is no entitlement to additional leave or pay for the parents of approximately 40,000 children who must spend time in neonatal care each year.

The Conservative Manifesto stated:

“We will legislate to allow parents to take extended leave for neonatal care, to support those new mothers and fathers who need it during the most vulnerable and stressful days of their live.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched a consultation that ran from July to October 2019, which requested responses to a raft of proposals concerning improving the balance between work and family life. The CIPP responded to this consultation and is pleased to hear that there could potentially be more entitlements for the parents of children who must spend time in neonatal care.

A mother from Croydon, Catriona Ogilvy, campaigned for more rights for parents who must spend time in neonatal care after she had to stay in a neonatal ward with her son, Samuel, who was born ten weeks early. Her campaign was backed by over 350,000 people and encouraged the Mayor of London, Sony Music and several London councils to give extra leave to staff who welcomed babies early.

Speaking to The Times, Treasury Minister, Kemi Badenoch, said the move would be “historic”, and:

“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.”


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