MPs are set to debate a proposed maternity leave extension for mums of premature babies following an online campaign with more than 100,000 signatures.
Losing weeks of bonding time
Mothers of premature babies are calling for an extension to the statutory maternity leave, the result of the Smallest Things, an online campaign started by Catriona Ogilvy after her first son was born 10 weeks prematurely. Mrs Ogilvy lost weeks of bonding time while her sons were in hospital and had to go back to work while they were still tiny.
The London based former neonatal worker and mum of two boys, both born prematurely, is campaigning for an extra week’s leave for every week parents lose while waiting for their babies to be discharged. Up to 40,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year and the average stay in hospital is 8 weeks.
Small change, serious improvement
Labour’s Steve Reed, Mrs Ogilvy’s MP, describes the Smallest Things campaign’s proposed change as small, but nevertheless a change which will seriously improve the lives of thousands of families each year. Reed will present a bill in Parliament this Wednesday that seeks to extend maternity and paternity leave for parents of premature babies.
The Department for Business states that the UK’s current maternity system is fair and one of the most generous systems in the world.
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