A BABY who is born prematurely or sick will receive neonatal care in hospital or another agreed care setting – often for a prolonged period of time. This can put parents in a difficult position of having to use their existing leave entitlements to be by their baby’s side, or worse, having to return to work while their baby is still receiving hospital care.
Today’s Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill, introduced by Stuart C McDonald MP and backed by government, will allow parents to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave, in addition to other leave entitlements such as maternity and paternity leave, so that they can spend more time with their baby at what is a hugely stressful time.
Once in law, neonatal care leave will be available to employees from their first day in a new job and will apply to parents of babies who are admitted into hospital up to the age of 28 days, and who have a continuous stay in hospital of seven full days or more.
As many parents across the UK are facing rising cost of living, today’s reforms will help ease future pressures on families whose children require neonatal care by ensuring they aren’t forced with the choice of taking unpaid leave or continue working. As well as supporting families, it will also help employers who want to better support their staff.
Business Minister Jane Hunt said:
“Having a new-born in neonatal care is an incredibly worrying time for parents. No family should also have to agonise about their return to work, or whether they have enough leave in place.
“By putting our full weight behind this Bill, I hope we can take one concern off the minds of new parents and give them the additional paid time off they need to care for their poorly baby.”
The reforms will be a huge boost for parents across the UK, with up to twelve weeks of paid leave for each parent. Mothers of children who have an extended stay in hospital at the start of their lives often find that 39 weeks of paid maternity leave does not give them enough time with their loved one before they need to go back to work. Similarly, the change in law will ensure fathers and partners have the flexibility to share caring responsibilities by increasing the amount of paid leave they can access beyond the usual two weeks of paternity leave. It will also fit alongside Shared Parental Leave, and the flexibility that this provides, which will mean both parents feel able to prioritise their child, and family, in that precious time after birth.
Stuart C McDonald, MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East said:
“No parent should have to choose between being with their premature or sick baby in neonatal care and having to return to work to earn a living; or enjoying the full benefits of parental leave and going back to work.
“With the cost-of-living soaring, it is more important than ever that we secure an urgent change in the law so that parents of babies in neonatal care get the paid leave and support they need at an incredibly challenging time.
“I’m delighted to bring forward this Bill with the backing of Bliss and families across Scotland and the UK.”
Bliss Chief Executive, Caroline Lee-Davey, said:
‘’We are thrilled that the Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Bill has passed Second Reading in Parliament and has support from the Government. This is a huge milestone after years of campaigning and is a significant step towards tens of thousands of parents having paid leave while their baby is critically ill in hospital every year.
‘’We know how much this entitlement will mean to families, and the difference it will make to babies. Currently, thousands of parents every year have no choice but to return to work while their baby is in hospital or spend months of their maternity leave next to an incubator. After the progress made today, we are one step closer to giving many parents the much-needed time to be where they need to be – by their baby’s side in hospital.
“We know there is now more to do to continue the Bill’s passage through Parliament, and we look forward to continuing to work with Stuart McDonald MP and the Government, and MPs across all parties to ensure that this Bill becomes law as quickly as possible.”
The government already has package of measures in place to support the most vulnerable families and those on lower incomes. Earlier this year earlier the government increased the National Living Wage to £9.50 per hour – equivalent to an extra £1,000 a year for a full-time worker – with a full campaign underway encouraging workers to check their pay.
Carmarthenshire students celebrate A Level and A.S. results
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council wishes to congratulate all of the county’s students that are receiving their A-Level and A.S. results today, Thursday 18th August 2022.
Whilst this year has seen a return to exam-based results, following two years of assessment-based grading during the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers have still had to contend with the ongoing impact of the last 2 years.
A total of 98.6% of A Level students in Carmarthenshire achieved A*-E, which is higher than the 97.3% in 2019 when exams were last sat.
Across Carmarthenshire, a total of 40.1% of A level students have received A or A* this year, which is vastly higher than the 24.9% when exams were last sat in 2019.
After 2 years without examinations, students at AS Level also had the opportunity this year to show what knowledge they had learned and skills they had developed, through a combination of exams and assessments, applicable to different courses. 91.8 % of AS students in Carmarthenshire achieved A-E grades which, again, is higher than in 2019.
Cllr. Glynog Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language said: “Congratulations to every single student receiving their A-Level and A.S. results today. These young people and their teachers have worked extremely hard, within the uncertain climate that exists due to the pandemic, and they should be very proud, as am I, of their fantastic achievements.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students, teachers and support staff of Carmarthenshire as well as their families for their hard work over the last two years.”
In a joint statement, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Chief Executive, Wendy Walters and Director of Education and Children’s Services, Gareth Morgans added: “Congratulations to our A-Level and A.S. students for their, well deserved, excellent results. The last two years have been very challenging for students, teachers, support staff, families and friends and we are grateful to everyone for their commitment and support to each other during this period.
“These young people are a credit to their schools and our county, and we wish them every success for the future.”
Co op helps out two Llandeilo community volunteer groups
LLANDEILO Co op store manager Chris Rees and Member Pioneer Christoph Fischer successfully secured Co op funding for two Llandeilo community groups: “Friends of Llandyfeisant Church” and the “Dinefwr Orchadeers”.
Friends of Llandyfeisant Church was set up to restore the beautiful Llandyfeisant Church on the Dinefwr Park estate. The volunteers want to bring this unused building back into use for the community. “We’re currently restoring the floor according to the Listed Buildings specification, which is costly and labour intense,” explains Dafydd Thomas from the group.
“The church is no longer consecrated but it would be wonderful for many other events.”
The group has a busy Facebook page and many supporters, locally and from further afield.
The Dinefwr Orchardeers are a community volunteer group based at Dinefwr Home Farm, looking after a 3-acre orchard of heritage apple and pear trees. They hire out fruit milling and pressing equipment to local fruit tree / orchard owners, run a cider club and recently built a juicing room. The money will be spent on aprons and juicing equipment.
“We would love you to join or observe our weekly orchard management sessions” says Philip James. “You can learn, amongst other activities, to prune, harvest and juice.”
“At the Co op we’re proud to support local initiatives and projects,” says store manager Chris Rees. “We have three local causes every year who get 2% of money spent by members in the store on co op products, but we also can help with ad hoc projects.”
“We encourage local groups to come forward if they wish to apply for either type of funds,” says Member Pioneer Christoph Fischer. “My role in the co op is to liaise with community groups and lend them our support.”
To join or meet the Orchadeers, please call Philip on 01558 685746.
To become a member or volunteer with Friends of Llandyfeisant Church, visit their Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/280218132732204 or email email@example.com
St. Michaels School celebrates excellent A-Level results
ST. MICHAEL’S School, Llanelli, is extremely pleased to announce another year of successful A-Level results, with 80.2% of all grades awarded either an A* or A grade.
The vast majority of pupils have earned a place at their chosen university to study courses such as Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Economics.
This is the first year that traditional exams have resumed since the Covid-19 pandemic began with the majority of lessons in the first part of the A-Level being delivered online rather than in a classroom environment. This makes the results even more of an achievement considering the circumstances.
Headmaster Mr Benson Ferrari said: “We offer our sincere congratulations to our outgoing Year 13 class on the publication of their A-Level results, demonstrating that our pupils have worked so hard despite the challenges of returning to a conventional assessment approach.
“They approached the situation with resilience and dedication, which has resulted in grades that are truly representative of their ability. I am confident that they will all go onto achieve great things at university and in their working lives.
“We wish them the best as they move to this new and exciting stage of their education. The preparation which St. Michael’s has provided will be built upon, along with our values and principles providing a lasting framework to tackle the challenges ahead.”
In 2020, St. Michael’s School was awarded The Sunday Times Welsh Independent School of the Decade and this was in part due to the excellent exam results that the school receives each year.
St. Michael’s was also ranked 13th in The Times 2019 Co Ed League Table for UK Independent Schools, which was the last time that the results were published. The school hopes that this year’s results will continue to secure their place in the 2022 league table which will be published later this year.
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