Workplace support for mothers with premature or sick babies

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2020 National Women's Conference
24 October 2019

The birth of a child is usually a very special time, but unfortunately, it can be testing if the baby is born prematurely or with complex health needs. In the UK, roughly 60,000 babies are born prematurely (before the 37th week of pregnancy) or sick every year. When a baby is born prematurely or is sick, it can be a difficult time for parents and the last thing that they should have to worry about is their place of employment or the amount of paid maternity leave they have left before they have to return to work. After the birth of a premature baby or sick baby, families will spend extended periods of time in hospital and in some cases may be forced to return to work either before the baby is released from hospital or shortly after being able to take their baby home. Even after the baby is allowed home there will be an increased number of hospital and doctor visits which could have an impact on the mother�s ability to remain in the employment. Conference believes that more could and should be done to support women during these difficult times and commends the work carried out by organisations such as BLISS and The Smallest Things to raise the profile of this important issue. Conference therefore calls on the National Women�s Committee to:1) Campaign for additional paid leave for women who have a premature baby or a sick baby born at full term2) Collect examples of best practice on how employers can support women who have had a premature baby or a sick baby born at full term, with a view to develop a model policy3) Make plans to mark World Prematurity day (17th November)