UK Introduces Plan For Extended Leave For Parents of Sick and Premature Babies

Theresa May has begun consultations on the implementation of a government-funded paid leave for parents whose babies are premature or sick in the hospital. Just after celebrating the birth of their child, these parents have to immediately leave their side to go back to work. They need to leave their infants in urgent care, and this can be very stressful for a new parent.

In the UK, there are about 100,000 babies who need to go into neonatal care after being born. Whether it’s due to an illness, premature birth, or a developing condition, these infants need more medical attention than the average baby. As a new parent, it must be terrifying and nerve-wracking to leave your child completely in the hands of the medical professionals.

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The new government plan details how new parents in the country would get one week of state-funded leave for every week their baby is in the hospital. This way, parents don’t have to worry about going back to work immediately, and they can stay with their baby for as long as they need. May stated that it’s “not fair and not right” that parents have to return to work before their baby leaves the hospital. The goal of the plan is to give parents more time with their newborns, as caring for their baby is probably their newest priority.

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May’s government has also been trying to create a parental leave system that reflects the modern-day family. While conceptions of childcare have changed over time, there’s still the existing assumption that women should shoulder more of the burden of taking care of the kids. While moms can take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, dads can only take two weeks off at a pay of £149 a week. Many believe that fathers should not have to go on an unpaid leave just to be present in the first few months of their baby’s life.

While there’s still a long way to go, childcare policies in the UK are progressing. Their position on maternity leave is above the world average. They do, however, still have a lot to work on in terms of paternity leave and neonatal care. With changing policies and perspectives, there is much hope for radical change.

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