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Bliss calls for more time off for parents of sick babies

Two thirds of fathers of premature and ill babies have been forced to work while their child is in intensive care

Neonatal charity, Bliss has called for more time off for parents of sick children.

The charity surveyed 737 parents with 77% saying they were not given enough time off and were forced to work while their child was in intensive care. Research found that one in 10 parents had been forced to quit their job over a child’s stay in hospital. According to Bliss, 100,000 babies born every year need intensive care in their first week of life.

Parents surveyed said that while some employers had been sympathetic, 66% of dads had been forced to work while their baby was receiving neonatal care. Bliss along with other organisations is campaigning for the government to extend parental leave and to pay parents of premature or sick babies for the amount of time spent in hospital.

Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive of Bliss, said: “Statutory paternity leave runs out long before many babies born premature or sick come home from hospital. This forces many dads and partners to be signed off sick or go back to work while their baby fights for their life.

“This is not good for babies or their parents – but it also is not good for employers when valued employees are either struggling to do their jobs while under immense stress worrying about their sick baby, or having to sign off sick or leave work altogether rather than take a planned leave of absence with their employer’s full support.”

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