Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill is one step closer to becoming law

Posted on July 15, 2022


Earlier today, the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill passed Second Reading and received Government support.

The Bill is a Private Members Bill, and these types of Bills are particularly vulnerable to being kicked out at this point in the legislative process. This is a significant hurdle that has been overcome, and the Bill is now in a strong position to move through the next stages.

Bliss Chief Executive, Caroline Lee-Davey, said: ‘’We are thrilled that the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill has passed Second Reading in Parliament and has support from the Government. This is a huge milestone after years of campaigning and is a significant step towards tens of thousands of parents having paid leave while their baby is critically ill in hospital every year.

‘’We know how much this entitlement will mean to families, and the difference it will make to babies. Currently, thousands of parents every year have no choice but to return to work while their baby is in hospital or spend months of their maternity leave next to an incubator. After the progress made today, we are one step closer to giving many parents the much-needed time to be where they need to be - by their baby’s side in hospital.

We know there is now more to do to continue the Bill’s passage through Parliament, and we look forward to continuing to work with Stuart McDonald MP and the Government, and MPs across all parties to ensure that this Bill becomes law as quickly as possible.”

The next step for the Bill is Committee Stage, where a small group of MPs will scrutinise the wording of the Bill closely, and they might suggest amendments to the wording to make the Bill better.

If this Bill becomes law it will mean all employed parents will be entitled to up to 12 weeks of neonatal leave if their baby receives neonatal care for a week or more as a day-one right. This means parents will be entitled to neonatal leave from the first day they start a job. Employed parents will also qualify for neonatal pay if they meet certain criteria around how long they’ve worked for their employer, and how much they earn – similar to other forms of parental pay.

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Baby in neonatal care attached to a feeding tube being held by his father