Parents of premature babies
Steve works closely with charities calling for more support for parents of premature babies. Parents whose babies are born prematurely get the same time off work as parents of children who are born healthy at full term. This fails to take into account the additional time parents need to care for vulnerable premature babies that often spend the first weeks of their life struggling for survival in an incubator surrounded by wires and tubes.
For some parents, their full parental leave has been used up by the time their baby is well enough to go home. This means their baby is doubly disadvantaged – first by the fragile health that premature babies contend with for years, and secondly by not having their parents around when they go home.
Many parents take unpaid leave or quit their jobs, while others have been sacked because of the demands their baby’s poor health makes on their time. This pushes many families into debt, creating another major worry on top of their child’s fight for survival. The stress leaves some parents suffering with mental ill health.
Steve proposed a new law that would give parents additional paid leave based on how prematurely their baby was born. The law, which Steve brought to the House of Commons, was backed by premature baby charities including Bliss and The Smallest Things. The Conservative Government has so far failed to make time in Parliament for the bill to proceed further.