Childbirth: Employment

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 20th October 2014.

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Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if his Department will undertake research into the effects of having a baby prematurely born on a mother's labour market attachment.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Education) (Women and Equalities) , The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Government currently has no plans to look at the impact of having a premature baby on the mother’s attachment to the labour market. We will, however, consider the issues facing families with babies admitted to neonatal care within the context of the review of changes to employment law enacted by the Children and Families Act after 2018 – in particular the take up of shared parental leave and pay.

The new system of shared parental leave and pay will give parents much more flexibility in the first year following their child’s birth. This flexibility will be particularly valuable to parents who have to deal with difficult or unexpected circumstances and it will allow parents, for the first time, to take leave together in a way that suits them. The system will be available for working parents whose baby is due on or after 5 April 2015 (irrespective of when the baby is born), and will be introduced later this year so that it catches babies who are born early.

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