WIGAN MP Lisa Nandy has backed proposals that will allow for parents of premature babies to receive extended maternity leave.

The proposed legislation will allow parents to have extra flexibility, allowing for the specific demands of premature births to be met.

Speaking on the issue, Nandy stated: “Many parents who have a premature baby are forced to choose between going back to work or leaving their job to care for their child.

“There is cross-party support for these proposals and I’m hopeful that this campaign will continue to attract further backing.”

A petition started by Catriona Ogilvy on the issue has reached over 100,000 on change.org, which had it had been on the government’s own petitions website, would have triggered a debate in parliament.

Ogilvy cited the reasons for starting the petition on its webpage stating: “As a mother I needed time to bond with my tiny baby, time to recover from our traumatic journey and time at home for my baby to grow and develop before I could return to work.

However, there will be a ten minute motion on Wednesday to debate amendments to The Employment Rights Act.

What is maternity leave, who can get it, and how will the changes affect parents?

Maternity Leave is when a parent who has recently had a child receives time off work in order to take care of their new baby.

Currently, You’re entitled to maternity leave if you’re an employee. You’re probably an employee if you do regular work with fixed hours set by your employer.

In order to get it, you have to inform your employer at least 15 weeks before the due date that you are pregnant, that you wish to take maternity leave, and when you want the process to start and end (although you can change these later).

At the moment, a parent is entitled to take anything from two weeks up to a year, however this petition wants to extend this, although how long that they wish to extend this to remains to be seen.

Should the law change then it will most likely see legislation put in place that if a baby is born a number of weeks before the due date, then the parents will be entitled to take an extension to their maternity leave.

However, the change may also affect businesses, who will potentially have to pay staff who are off for longer, which could cause shortages in some cases.

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