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February 28, 2019

Two thirds of dads forced to return to work while their baby is still in neonatal care

A new survey by the premature and sick baby charity Bliss has found that 66 per cent of dads had to return to work while their baby was still receiving specialist neonatal care. The survey of 737 parents also found that 36 per cent of dads resorted to being signed off sick in order to spend time with their baby on the neonatal unit.

Other key findings of the survey include:

-One quarter of fathers had to choose between taking time off when their baby was in neonatal care, or when their baby went home

-77 per cent of parents felt like their parental leave was not long enough, with this figure rising to 90 per cent of parents whose baby spent 10 or more weeks in neonatal care

-Half of all parents would have liked to take more parental leave but couldn't afford to take any longer off work

-24 per cent of dads said they were concerned for their job if they asked for more time off

-One fifth of parents whose baby spent 10 weeks or more in neonatal care took unpaid parental leave and/or time off for dependents.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, says: "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.

"Bliss calls on the Government to give parents an extra paid week off work for every week their baby is in neonatal care, to ensure the best outcomes for babies, families and employers."


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