Call for more paid parental leave for parents of babies born preterm or sick


Celebrated globally, World Prematurity Day (WPD) aims to raise awareness of preterm birth and the ongoing challenges faced by children born preterm and their families.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year 1 in 10 babies worldwide are born preterm term, equalling an estimated 15 million infants. All infants born preterm require immediate and sometimes significant medical care, as well as sometimes facing many unexpected ongoing challenges. As a result, the emotional and financial stress experienced by their families is significant.

This year on World Prematurity Day, the CRE in Newborn Medicine campaigned alongside Miracle Babies Foundation for the Australian government to ease the financial impact experienced by families at this already stressful and emotional time.

CRE in Newborn Medicine’s Chief Investigator Professor Alicia Spittle appeared on the weekend Sunrise program and spoke on Triple R radio on Sunday morning to highlight the issue and call on the government to review their current paid parental leave policies so that for every week a baby is born preterm, their parents receive an extra week of paid parental leave. The campaign is not only calling for changes for the primary care giver, but also for fathers and partners who are often charged with caring for siblings and need to return to work before their newborn has been discharged from hospital.

Changes have recently been made in New Zealand to leave entitlements for these families and the UK is currently reviewing their legislation, so speaking on Triple R’s Radiotherapy program Sunday morning, Alicia said she was optimistic that the Australian government would follow suit. “It isn’t a huge number of babies, we are looking at an increase of approximately 5% to the amount spent on paid parental leave so we really hope the government comes to the party and starts reviewing what’s happening here in Australia”.

This is just the beginning and the CRE in Newborn Medicine along with Miracle Babies Foundation are committed to continuing to campaign for this very important issue for families who have babies born preterm or sick.

You can see Alicia's appearance on Sunrise here: 

And you can listen to Alicia speaking with Triple R here: 

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