Monday, 9 December 2013 - 12:26
Longer maternity leave urged for incubator baby moms
The maternity leave for mothers of incubator babies should be extended to ten weeks after the child goes home, the Association of Parents of Incubator Babies VOC has said in a letter to Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA). The association has long called for an extension but Asscher’s predecessors never went beyond making promises; the draft law has been shelved for at least five years. In 2008, Piet Hein Donner, the then Minister of Social Affairs, hinted that he was not against the extension. Donner’s predecessor Henk Kamp promised to pick up the issue. The VOC said in its letter to Minister Asscher that it is disappointed that it is taking so long, because for families with incubator babies the hospital-to-home transition is often difficult. A baby that is born too early or with an illness, often has to spend months in the care of the hospital; their mothers however only get the legally mandated amount of maternity leave days and often have to return to work when the child comes home, and sometimes even when the child has not come home yet. The association said that when mothers of incubator babies hastily return to work, their child has to be enrolled immediately to daycare. “The child needs rest, but that is not possible in a daycare. In addition, mothers often do not get the time they themselves need to process everything,” the VOC stated.