Historic Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill progresses to the House of Lords

Posted on January 20, 2023


The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill has passed third reading in Parliament and is one step closer to becoming law.

Following over ten years of campaigning, Bliss, the UK’s leading charity for babies born premature and sick, is absolutely delighted that the Bill has passed its final stages in the House of Commons and will now move to the House of Lords.

The Report and Third Reading, which took place this morning, marks a huge step forward to parents across Britain being able to take longer paid leave when they have a baby in neonatal care.

If this becomes law it’s expected around 60,000 parents every year will benefit from up to 12 weeks’ leave and pay when their babies are born needing neonatal care.

Initially introduced to Parliament as a Private Member’s Bill by SNP MP Stuart McDonald, the Bill also has vast cross-party support. Many MPs cited emotional and moving speeches from their constituents who have had a baby born premature, or full-term but sick.

Bliss has worked closely with Stuart McDonald MP and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to make sure the Bill offers as much support to employed parents as possible, if their baby is born premature or sick.

Chris Henfield’s son Teddy was born just shy of 30 weeks and received care from three different neonatal units. The Bill would have allowed him to stay by his baby’s side with his wife, Phili.

Henfield said: “I had concerns about losing income if I took unpaid leave, so I was preparing to make an unenviable decision between being there for my family and having no money coming in or having to work and not being able to care for Teddy and support Phili.”

NLP graphic draft 3 01

Bliss supports the 90,000 babies born needing neonatal care every year. Caroline Lee-Davey, their Chief Executive, said:

We are absolutely delighted that the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill has passed its third reading in Parliament and is now on its way to the House of Lords.

“The Bill is expected to make a huge difference to families across the country who have a baby born premature or full term and sick.

“It will allow them to be by their baby’s side in hospital playing a hands-on role in their care, which we know is best for babies and for families.

“Bliss is incredibly grateful to Stuart McDonald MP and his colleagues for taking this crucial Bill forward. We will continue to support the Bill through its remaining stages, and to push for it to be made available to families as soon as possible once it becomes law.”