Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has welcomed news that parents of premature babies will be able to claim an extra £160 a week.
The payments are expected to be announced by the chancellor in the Budget on Wednesday.
Kellie Armstrong said: “I welcome news that the chancellor is expected to make provision in Wednesday’s Budget for Neonatal Pay and Leave to allow new mothers and fathers to claim statutory paid leave for every week their child is in neonatal care, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. It is also good news that government would pay the extra leave, rather than businesses.
“The birth of a premature baby can result in pressures on parents, obviously worrying about the health of the baby, but also about having to take additional time off work, possibly without pay. In many cases parents have had to return to work before their baby is allowed out of hospital. This paid leave will make a great difference to families at a very difficult time when their focus should be on the health of their new baby.”