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Maternity leave for parents of premature babies. Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk about the project

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There will be additional leaves for parents of premature babies, announced the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Policy, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk. This is a reaction to the demands of non-governmental organizations. In an interview with the business editorial team of the tvn24.pl portal, the head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy clarified when the regulations may enter into force.

On Friday, at a press conference, a draft bill was presented that extends leave for parents of premature babies and children hospitalized after birth.

The Coalition for Premature Babies Foundation had already appealed for an extension maternity leave for parents of premature babies, indicating that such solutions have been adopted in many European countries.

The minister explains

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During the minister's press conference, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk explained the principles of leave for parents of premature babies.

– We give parents time that is called leave, which is called maternity leave, but it has nothing to do with leave. It's hard to imagine that such a parent could think about rest and enjoy this time. It's often huge anxiety and stress, she said.

– The bill provides solutions for parents of the smallest of the smallest – the so-called extremely premature or ultra-premature babies – children who were born before the 28th week or weigh less than 1000 grams, we propose a week for a week, i.e. a week of hospitalization is a week of additional maternity leave up to the 15th. additional weeks – said the head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.

She informed that “for non-extreme premature babies, the same rule, week by week, will apply up to eight weeks of additional maternity leave.” – Identical solutions will also apply to parents of children who were born at term but must stay in the hospital longer than the standard 5 days – said Dziemianowicz-Bąk.

She explained that – in accordance with the assumptions of the project – the leave will be granted upon request and will be optional, i.e. each parent will be able to use it if they want, but it will not be compulsory. – It will be the parents who will decide whether the mother or father will take this leave – she noted. – However, it will not be possible to divide it between parents. It will also have to be used immediately after and before maternity leave parental leave – said the head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. She said that “parents adopting children will also be entitled to leave.” She assured that the government would find funds for the project. – Yesterday (Thursday – ed.) I talked to the Minister of Finance (Andrzej Domański – ed.). He said he did not see any problems with financing the project, said Dziemianowicz-Bąk.

When will the regulations come into force?

In an interview with the business editorial team of the tvn24.pl portal, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk clarified when the regulations may enter into force.

– In our assumptions, we safely assume that the project should be presented to the Council of Ministers in the third quarter of this year – announced the minister.

– So that this last quarter could be devoted to the parliamentary work stage, because I would like the bill to come into force in the new year. so that we enter the new year 2025 with new, fairer regulations, she said.

– I also hope for a positive reception from the president Andrzej Duda. It's like that, sometimes in politics it is said that something should unite us beyond divisions. Despite political and party differences, we should agree on something. If we are looking for a project that will truly unite beyond divisions, I think that giving time to toddlers, premature babies, parents, mothers of premature and sick children is just such a project, she said.

Reaction to the demands of non-governmental organizations

At the beginning of January, Dziemianowicz-Bąk received a petition on this matter from representatives of the National Agreement “Together for Premature Children”.

Mothers of premature babies on maternity leave appealed for the leave to be extended by the time the child spent in the hospital after being born. Currently, their maternity leaves operate on general terms. They start when the baby is born, regardless of how long the baby has to stay in hospital.

Additional maternity leave for mothers of premature babies in other countriesTVN24

Work on the bill has been ongoing since February. In March, Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk informed that according to the assumptions, the leave would not be reserved only for mothers, but also for fathers, legal guardians, adoptive parents and foster parents.

The change in the regulations was sought by the Coalition for Premature Children Foundation, acting on behalf of parents of premature babies, and eight organizations co-creating the National Agreement “Together for Premature Children”, as well as by the Serce Dziecka Foundation and the Najdroższa Blizna Foundation, with the support of the national consultant in the field of neonatology, Prof. Ewa Helwich, the Polish Neonatal Society and the Polish Pediatric Society, children's rights ombudsman Monika Horny-Cieślak and patient rights ombudsman Bartłomiej Chmielowiec.

According to the Central Statistical Office, 22.5 thousand were born in 2022. premature babies per 306 thousand all births.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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