Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, attended a Parliamentary event on 6th July 2022, hosted by Stuart McDonald MP and the UK’s leading charity for premature and sick babies, Bliss, to pledge his support for the introduction of the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament last month by SNP MP Stuart McDonald, and the second reading of the Bill is next Friday.

Stuart, who topped this year’s Private Members Bill Ballot chose to bring forward the important legislation, said, “No parent should have to choose between being with their premature or sick baby in neonatal care and having to go back to work to earn a living.

“With the cost-of-living soaring, it is more important than ever that we secure an urgent change in the law so that parents of babies in neonatal care get the paid leave and support they need at an incredibly challenging time.”

The lack of extra maternity and paternity leave entitlement when a baby is born premature or sick means that many parents have to return to work while their babies are in hospital. With only two weeks of paternity leave available, many fathers and non-birthing parents return to work long before their babies are well enough to go home.

Gavin Newlands MP said: ‘’I am very proud to support the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill. Nearly 16 years ago, my wife and I were faced with this extremely stressful situation when our oldest was born by emergency caesarean over 6 weeks premature.

“If this becomes law, tens of thousands of families with a baby in neonatal care will benefit from extra leave and pay at the time they need it most, including families across Paisley and Renfrewshire North”

Recent Bliss research found that 1 in 4 families surveyed had to borrow money or increase their debt due to their baby’s neonatal stay. As household and living costs are rising, the pressure on families with a sick baby in hospital is increasing, making it even more important that MPs pledge their support now.

Bliss Chief Executive, Caroline Lee-Davey said: “We are thrilled that Stuart has introduced the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill as his Private Members Bill. The current law doesn’t work for families, but it also doesn’t work for employers who find it hard to support their staff when their worlds are turned upside down by neonatal care.

Headline photo: Gavin showing support for neonatal care bill
Photo Credit: Gavin Newlands office