MP in plea to extend paternity leave for fathers of premature babies

Theresa May has been urged to consider extending statutory paternity leave for fathers of premature babies, as an MP spoke of the “incredibly difficult” experience of seeing his children in an incubator.

The SNP’s David Linden (Glasgow East) urged the Prime Minister during PMQs to give more support to parents faced with a similar situation, saying the “law does not work” for them.

He said: “Watching your premature baby in an incubator, hooked up to oxygen, being given assistance to breath, is an incredibly difficult experience, and I can say that because both of my children have been through that.

“But the reality is with statutory paternity leave the law does not work for parents of premature babies – we spend weeks on neonatal intensive care units and we want to take our paternity leave, more than the 56 days.

“So will the Prime Minister agree to meet with me and the campaign charity Bliss to look at how we can give support to parents of premature babies?”

Mrs May replied: “What I understand is that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is undertaking a review of the provisions for parents of premature babies as they’re the department responsible for the parental leave legislation, but also those that experience multiple births.

“And they are working with charities representing parents of premature babies, parents of babies who require neonatal care, to better understand the pressures and the issues that those parents have to face when their child is born prematurely or sick.

“They expect to be in a position to be able to share the key findings of this review with interested parties in the new year, and I will ensure that a relevant minister from the department meets with him and the charity to hear that experience first-hand.”

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