The survey of 737 parents also found that 36% of dads resorted to being signed off sick in order to spend time with their baby on the neonatal unit.
Key findings from the survey included:
- A quarter of fathers had to choose between taking time off when their baby was in neonatal care, or when their baby went home
- 77% of parents felt like their parental leave was not long enough, with this figure rising to 90% of parents whose baby spent 10 or more weeks in neonatal care, and 95% of dads
- Half of all parents would have liked to take more parental leave but couldn’t afford to take any longer off work
- 24% of dads said they were concerned for their job if they asked for more time off
- A fifth of parents whose baby spent 10 weeks or more in neonatal care took unpaid parental leave and/or time off for dependents
In light of the research, Bliss have called on the government to give both dads and mums an extra paid week off work for every week their baby is in neonatal care, to ensure the best outcomes for babies, families and employers.
The burden parents are under whilst their child is in neonatal care, means going back to work can be unproductive. Here at enei we would support Government moves to provide longer leave for parents of premature babies.