Parents with premature or sick babies are relying on an “employment lottery” if they need extra parental leave, a Glasgow MP has warned.

David Linden, SNP MP for Glasgow East, has called for a change to the law to allow parental leave for parents of premature and sick babies to be extended.

Speaking in the House of Commons Wednesday, Mr Linden asked his fellow MPs to back his Premature Leave Bill and “truly tackle a burning injustice.”

Before presenting the Bill, Mr Linden said: “At the moment, parents are very much reliant on an employment lottery by hoping and praying that their employer will give longer time off - even though the law doesn’t require it.

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“Put simply, UK legislation is seriously failing families whose children are born sick or premature.”

The issue is close to Mr Linden’s heart as his two children were both born prematurely.

He said: “For me, this is personal and based on real, lived experience.

“Each year 100,000 babies in the UK will spend an extended period in Neonatal Care - just as our children, Isaac and Jessica, did in 2015 and 2018.

“For us, that meant weeks watching our children growing in incubators whilst hooked up to countless machines and wires.”

“By allowing my Bill to proceed today, we can right a wrong and truly tackle a burning injustice which can be so easily be extinguished for the parents of premature and sick babies.”

The premature and sick babies charity, Bliss, found the issue of extending parental leave is particularly prevalent for fathers.

In a recent survey they found a fifth of parents whose baby spent 10 weeks or more in neonatal care took unpaid parental leave and, or time off for dependents. While , 36 percent of dads resorted to being signed off sick in order to spend time with their baby on the neonatal unit.

And 66 per cent of dads had to return to work while their baby was still receiving specialist neonatal care.

Justin Irwin, interim chief executive of Bliss Scotland, said the charity were “delighted” that Mr Linden had taken the matter “into his own hands” by bringing forward the Bill.

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Mr Irwin said: “We are looking forward to working closely with David and supporting his Bill as it progresses.

“In the meantime, we urge the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to put premature and sick babies, and their families, first by rethinking their decision not to publish the advice that makes up the review (of parental leave provisions for parents premature, sick or multiple babies).

“No parent should have to worry about returning to work while their baby is sick in hospital – but without action, this is the reality for thousands of families every year.”