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Legislative reform: Private members’ bill may move the dial on neonatal care

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By Zoe Wigan, Ceri Fuller & Hilary Larter


Published 04 August 2022


A Private Members’ Bill has been passed backing legislation which will give up to 12 weeks paid neonatal leave to employees.

A Private Members’ Bill has been passed backing legislation which will give up to 12 weeks' paid neonatal leave to employees.


The Government has given its backing to a Private Members’ Bill which will allow parents to each take a week of paid leave for every week their baby is in neonatal care, up to a maximum of 12 weeks, in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave, so that they can spend more time with their baby who, having been born prematurely or sick, is receiving neonatal care in a hospital or other agreed care setting.  Neonatal care leave will be available to employees from their first day at work whose babies have a continuous stay in neonatal hospital care of seven full days or more.


Legislation giving the right to neonatal care has been expected for some time, but was omitted from the Queens’ Speech in May this year. The passing of the Private Members’ Bill may well ensure that there is sufficient parliamentary time allotted to pass the legislation this year.  While mothers of babies in neonatal care will benefit, perhaps fathers and partners will be most impacted as this change would allow them to increase the amount of paid leave they can access beyond the usual 2 weeks of paternity leave.  HR teams will need to get to grips with more employees being absent from work for family related reasons.