Changes required to maternity leave for parents of premature babies

My maternity leave commenced the day after my daughter was born prematurely, 10 weeks before my due date. I spent the following 7 weeks looking after my baby in hospital,  observing her fighting for survival and hoping for a positive outcome. The first two weeks I had to stay in hospital, due to my own health complications, and even this time was still classed as ordinary maternity leave. This period was followed by a difficult settling time back at home, dealing with the anxiety of having to look after a tiny and fragile baby.  

The current law requires that maternity leave starts the day after the birth of a child, no matter how early this child is born. Parents of premature children end up spending the first 1-3 months in hospital, overwhelmed with worrying and stress, they are deprived of that initial quality time of bonding with their child and feel they just can’t celebrate the arrival of a new life, as events can turn for the worst whilst in intensive care . By the time a premature baby starts to thrive and the parents feel less anxious, it is time to go back to work. There has been a campaign (The smallest things) aimed at changing the law to address this unfair policy. As a result of this campaign, in England a council has taken the situation in hand and has decided to proactively improve parental leave, without having to wait for changes to the legislation: https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/council-offers-extra-maternity-leave-premature-babies/

It would be great if the Welsh Government could adopt a progressive policy and lead to improve the maternity rights for parents of premature children. e.g. starting maternity leave on the original due date.

 

Why the contribution is important

Extended maternity leave for parents of premature children would provide additional financial support to the families. It would also support a healthy mother and baby bonding time, hopefully outside the hospital environment, reducing the risk of depression and other mental health conditions arising from this challenging situation.

 

by Ordinarymum on March 21, 2018 at 05:13PM

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