With all the news of Coronavirus and Furloughing, it may have passed some employers attention that there is new maternity and paternity legislation for employees in place. The chancellor has announced in the recent budget that extra maternity and paternity pay will be made to parents of premature babies. They will be given extra paid leave on top of the current allowance.
The policy will see parents of sick children given statutory paid leave of around £160 a week while a child is in neonatal care for up to 12 weeks, in addition to standard maternity or paternity allowance. The new leave will be available to all parents with a newborn child in care for more than a week.
Currently, parents of premature children are not entitled to any extra leave, and can often spend the majority of their statutory maternity or paternity leave with their child in hospital. The government estimates around 40,000 children spend more than a week in neonatal care.
Bereaved parents will also be entitled to get two weeks’ paid leave. Kemi Badenoch, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said the government would “incur almost all the cost” of the new policy.
It is thought that a more supportive workplace environment for employees should be good for business and for the UK economy as a whole. The extra leave would fulfil the government’s manifesto pledge to introduce a new neonatal care policy.
As parents who spend the first weeks or months of their baby’s life in a neonatal intensive care unit, the worry of work and pay will be eased.
This will make a difference to many families at the toughest times in their lives when the health of their babies needs to be top priority.
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