Re: Pass the Green Party motion in Dail Eireann on the 5th of April 2017 supported by the charity Irish Premature Babies CHY19532
Dear (Put your local TD’s name)
I am a voter in your constituency, and I want to bring a matter of utmost importance to your attention as my elected representative.
On the 5th of April 2017, I would like you to support the Green Party’s motion on changing the current status on maternity leave for mothers of preterm babies. Maternity leave will begin when the baby is delivered but an extension of maternity leave will be added for the time spent in the neonatal unit.
- “To extend the period of statutory maternity leave and Maternity Benefit for mothers of premature babies by the length of time between the delivery date of the baby and either 1) the date the baby would have been delivered if full term or 2) the date of the baby leaving hospital, whichever is the later; and that this extension be in addition to the current entitlement to 26 weeks maternity leave and Maternity Benefit and the additional 16 weeks unpaid maternity leave under the Maternity Acts 1994 and 2004”
Depending on complications some preterm babies need to stay in the neonatal unit for weeks or months. This inevitably means that when a preterm baby is discharged from the neonatal unit, the mother may have very little maternity leave left to spend with her baby at home.
· Each year in Ireland mothers of preterm 4500 babies don’t get to spend their full maternity leave at home with their premature baby. This is a long standing problem that needs rectifying for future families affected by preterm birth.
· Extensive global research has shown that maternity leave has a significant positive effect on the health and mental wellbeing of mother and baby, fathers, partners, families and communities. These benefits are physical, psychological, social and economic.
· Section 7 of the” Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004” provides for postponement of maternity leave in strict circumstances, that is, if your baby is hospitalised. However there are difficulties associated with postponement, these are as follows:
1. An employer has the right to refuse a postponement.
2. This postponement does not take into account a mothers health status, she may be unable to return to work after surgery or illness.
3. Mothers are actively encouraged to express breastmilk for their preterm baby. This needs to done every 2 to 3 hours. Breastmilk was classified as “Personal Medicine” by the British Medical Journal, it has extraordinary health benefits for a preterm baby.
4. Many preterm babies are transferred from their local unit to one of the 4 tertiary neonatal units with specialised neonatal care for the tiniest and sickest preterm babies. Most parents will leave their home and follow to the transferred neonatal unit. In this situation, it is not plausible for a mother to return to work if she is miles away from her home.
· Your support for this motion will make a huge difference to the next generation of preterm babies and their families.
· There will be a panel available on the 5th of April to answer any queries that you may have in relation to anything I have mentioned here in my email or if you would like to know more about preterm birth in Ireland.
( Add your name )