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Should Parents of Premature Infants Be Given A Longer Leave From Work?

It’s safe to say the vast majority of parents around the globe would likely answer that question with a resounding “yes, of course they should”, but believe it or not, every employer around the globe cannot always comply with that need, even if they morally want to.

There is nothing more disheartening than having a baby at the hospital then having to leave the facility without your precious, newborn baby. It hurts. It hurts like a dull ache that never quite dissipates until that magical day when you do get to bring your son or daughter home. Your family has planned for months, some for years working through fertility treatments, and so forth awaiting this tiny human to arrive. Then all of sudden life has a way of delaying those plans.

Obviously, the more premature your baby was born during their gestational growth period, the longer your little one will require medical attention living inside a NICU facility. Some parents have preemies that can’t even stay in the hospital they were born in, and need to be transferred to a higher level NICU to accommodate the care needed.

You can imagine how stressful, exhausting, time consuming, and financially draining this can be having a baby in the hospital. No parent wants to leave their child there, so one parent often stays at the NICU sometimes even all day long, and the other tries to keep the house afloat, and hopefully have the ability to continue paying the bills, which is no easy feat.

What does one do if they’ve been told their child will need to be hospitalized for weeks, perhaps months? Just quit your job? Apply for short term disability? The answers aren’t very clear, and often not enough to stay on top of everything. In the states especially this is a huge issue, as in many other countries you can receive support financially to be at home or in the hospital with your newborn. Rightfully so. The BBC just reported on this very topic, and suggested that parents to preemies have their leaves extended in order to properly care for their infants that so badly need them during these NICU days.

Since the issue appears to be that not every employer can fully commit to adjusting one’s parental leave to accommodate the needs of a preemie delivery, some are going to lawmakers asking for support. Petitioners are requesting that the law be changed to officially begin maternity and/or paternity leave on the baby’s actual due date, versus when the baby was delivered to adjust those additional weeks when the preemie would be under vigorous neonatal care. England certainly has one the most generous leave packages in the world, so this would come as no surprise if they begin leading the way helping families of preemies get through quite possibly, the hardest health journey their child may ever endure.

Regardless if this law passes or not, companies can still be ahead of the globe by offering preemie parental leave packages to their employees if they can financially do so. Not only does this heighten employee moral and contentment, but it shows that the organization is truly there for those that work so hard each day supporting their line of business. If you treasure your employees, you treat them well, it’s really just that simple. Happy employees are loyal, and more willing to recommend their workplace to others for employment opportunities. It’s a win-win situation, and one less thing for new parents of preemies to have to worry about.

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