Neonatal leave and pay


Ask your MP to make sure the Government keeps their promise to give parents extra leave and pay if their baby is born premature or sick.

Every year thousands of parents return to work when their baby is still critically ill.

Babies on the neonatal unit need their parents by their side to care for them while they are in hospital and when they are home. We want parents to be better supported to stay fully involved in the care of their baby.

In 2019, the Government committed to introducing Neonatal Leave and Pay – paid leave for parents while their baby is in neonatal care. But time is running out for them to introduce this before the next election.

We need the Government to keep their promise.

Take action by emailing your MP, using the information below, to ask them to ensure the Government keeps their promise to introduce Neonatal Leave and Pay.

Why are we campaigning on this issue?

Babies in neonatal care have better outcomes when their mums and dads are involved in providing hands-on care while they are in hospital. Yet every year thousands of parents have to return to work when their baby is still critically ill. Better support is needed to ensure babies have their parents by their side in hospital - where they need them.

Some babies will spend many weeks or months receiving care on the neonatal unit before they are well enough to go home. This means many parents use large amounts – or even all - of their leave entitlement before their baby goes home.

The neonatal environment is stressful, and parents need time to bond and adjust to time at home. Some babies will also have significant ongoing needs and may not be ready to be left in childcare by the time parents have to start work again.

A Bliss survey of over 700 parents found:

  • 66 per cent of dads and partners had to return to work while their baby was still receiving specialist neonatal care
  • 36 per cent of dads resorted to being signed off sick in order to spend time with their baby on the neonatal unit
  • 24 per cent of dads said they were concerned for their job if they asked for more time off
  • 77 per cent of parents felt like their parental leave was not long enough, with this figure rising to 90 per cent of parents whose baby spent 10 or more weeks in neonatal care, and 95 per cent of dads
  • Half of all parents would have liked to take more parental leave but couldn’t afford to take any longer off work
  • 11 per cent of parents left their jobs due to having insufficient leave after their baby was admitted to neonatal care.