An estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely each year according to the World Health Organisation.
Not only can it be an emotionally stressful time to have a child born early and stay in intensive care, but it can also cause an increased financial burden if parents have to suddenly take time off work due to their baby’s early arrival. It may also force many dads to go back when they aren’t ready to.
Plus, there may also be significant costs associated with accommodation or transport while your baby is in hospital.
With all this in mind, it’s refreshing to hear that one employer in the U.K. has decided to do something to financially help parents with premature babies.
Extended parental pay for parents with premature babies
Mothers who work at City Hall in the U.K. will now be entitled to a day’s premature baby leave and will be paid for every day between their baby’s birth and due date.
What’s more, parents taking paternity leave will be allowed an additional two week’s leave, or a day of leave and pay for every day their baby spends in the hospital up until its due date.
The initiative has been started in the hope it will catch on to other employers around the world.
“Here at City Hall, employees will now be entitled to paid leave if their baby is born prematurely, or is in need of neonatal care in hospital – and we’re urging other employers to follow our lead,” says London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Here at City Hall, employees will now be entitled to paid leave if their baby is born prematurely, or is in need of neonatal care in hospital – and we're urging other employers to follow our lead. https://t.co/owAF4grjBX
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) October 3, 2018
Catriona Ogilvy is the founder of The Smallest Things, and she helped work on this new policy.
“Visiting a premature baby on a neonatal intensive care unit is a traumatic, distressing time for parents without the added worry of work and pay,” she said.
“It certainly shouldn’t count as parental leave.”
What help is there in Australia for parents with premature babies in the hospital?
According to Miracle Babies Foundation, parents can access some financial help from the government if a child is in the hospital, such as carer allowance and carer payment.
For more information on this, check out the government websites.
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