Wednesday, 12 June 2019 07:33



David Linden MP will today (Wednesday) seek a change in the law to extend parental leave for parents of premature and sick babies.

The SNP MP - whose children were both born prematurely - will ask the House of Commons to back his Parental Leave (Premature and Sick Babies) Bill, which, if passed, will extend parental leave for parents of babies who spend an extended period of time in neonatal care.
David Linden MP, who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Premature and Sick Babies, has raised the matter directly with Theresa May at Prime Ministers Questions three times since November 2018 - but the Tory government has refused to act.

Under current UK legislation, fathers get a maximum of two weeks paid parental leave and must use it within the first 56 days after their child is born. Campaigners say this sees many parents having to return to work while their newborns are still struggling in incubators.
Around 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year in the UK, and each year 100,000 babies spend an extended period in neonatal care. David Linden MP's campaign for a change in the law is backed by charities including Bliss, Tamba and The Smallest Things.
Speaking before presenting his Bill in the House of Commons, David Linden MP said:

“UK legislation is seriously failing parents whose children are born sick or premature - by forcing them back to work while their babies are still in neonatal care.
"Despite growing pressure, the Tory government has repeatedly failed to act. Parents cannot afford to wait any longer to receive the long-overdue support they need. 
"For me, this is personal and based on real, lived experience. Each year 100,000 babies in the UK will spend an extended period in Neonatal Care - just as our children, Isaac and Jessica, did in 2015 and 2018.  For us, that meant weeks watching our children growing in incubators whilst hooked up to countless machines and wires.

“At the moment, parents are very much reliant on an employment lottery by hoping and praying that their employer will give longer time off - even though the law doesn’t require it.

“By allowing my Bill to proceed today, we can right a wrong and truly tackle a burning injustice which can be so easily be extinguished for the parents of premature and sick babies."

Stop delays over premature baby leave, MP warns -

David Linden: For the parents of premature and sick babies, our leave laws don’t work -  

Case studies and testimonies of other parents impacted by poor parental leave laws are available on request

Two thirds of dads forced to return to work whilst their baby was still in neonatal care -

David Linden MP's most recent exchange with Theresa May at Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday 1st May:  

November 2018: 'MP in plea to extend paternity leave for fathers of premature babies' -

February 2019: 'Stop delays over premature baby leave, MP warns' -

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