The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill 2022-23 is a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by the SNP’s Stuart C McDonald.  

The bill would introduce a new entitlement for maternity, paternity and adoption leave/pay if a baby has to spend seven or more consecutive days in hospital in their first four weeks of life. This leave and pay would be available for up to 12 weeks.

The sponsor Stuart McDonald introduced the bill by saying:

“We will never be able to get rid of the stress, the anxiety, the doubts, the questions and indeed the trauma that so many families experience when a baby is in neonatal care. But what we can and we must do is help to relieve some of the practical and fincnaical challenges that accompany that experience.”

Luke Hall, MP for Thornbury and Yate said that this bill was “a personal one” for many of the MP’s present, as it was something he had experienced first-hand. He sounded shaken when recalling his experience of waiting to hear from the hospital, “hoping the news was good rather than bad” and spoke about the consequences on mental health.

East Scotland’s MP David Linden said that Hall “hit the nail on the head”.

“Employers will not get the best out of employees when they’re sitting at work staring into space wondering if their child will make it through the day”, he said.

The bill was welcomed warmly by all sitting.

The Bill had its first reading on 15 June 2022 and it’s second reading was today, 15 July 2022.