- Date published: 22 Jun 2022 by Giulia Monasterio
Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is delighted to see Stuart McDonald, SNP MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East introduce the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill on 15 June 2022 in Parliament, which charities and families have been calling on for many years.
When this Bill is passed, it will ensure that families with a baby in neonatal care are able to access the paid leave and support they require, instead of being forced back into work whilst their baby remains in hospital. We echo Stuart McDonald’s words when he said: “No parent should have to choose between earning a living and being with their sick babies in hospital.”
The lack of additional maternity and paternity entitlements for parents with a neonate in hospital, means that this often ends before their baby has even been able to return home. This is especially the case for new fathers who are only entitled to a maximum of two weeks paternity pay and leave.
Parents are pushed into desperate situations whereby they cannot afford to take unpaid leave during this time and have to balance work alongside constant visits to hospitals, as well as managing other caring responsibilities. This immensely adds to the trauma and stress already experienced by parents coping with the challenges associated with having a premature or seriously ill baby.
Our Chief Executive, Zillah Bingley, said:
“Many of the families we support find their lives are turned upside down when their baby is born with medical complications and must therefore stay in hospital for an extended period of time. It is of absolute importance that families are given the opportunity to be by their baby’s bedside, without the additional worry of returning to work.
We urge the government and MPs to back this historic bill that will ensure parents with a sick baby can access the paid leave and support they require during such an immensely challenging time.”