The Maternity and Paternity Leave (Premature Birth) Bill 2016-17 had its first reading on 26 October 2016. It is scheduled to have its second reading on 16 December 2016. The Bill will propose amending Part 8 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to make provision about maternity and paternity leave for parents of babies born prematurely.
The Bill follows an online campaign that collected over 100,000 signatures and proposed extending maternity leave to take account of the development rate of premature children. According to the campaign, premature babies develop at a slower rate when compared to full-term births and therefore, when a mother has to return to work under the current law the baby is not ready for childcare.