Changes to maternity leave and benefits for mothers of premature babies
By Regina Doherty
Having a baby is one of the most joyous times of your life. When a baby arrives prematurely, that joy can be tinged with worry. As Minister for Social Affairs, I am glad to be able to help change how maternity benefit is to be paid, extending maternity leave in cases when a baby is born prematurely. Hopefully this change will help support families at one of the most difficult times in their lives.
How the changes to maternity benefit will work
From 1st October 2017, the period for which maternity benefit is paid is being extended in cases when a baby is born prematurely. The benefit will extend for the duration between the actual birth date of the premature baby to the date when the maternity leave was expected to commence. This will extend the existing 26 weeks of paid maternity leave, so that mothers of premature babies can give their children the care and attention that they need.