London’s City Hall is not the first employer to grant extended leave to the parents of preterm babies. In January, Waltham Forest Council, in East London, announced that its employees would be entitled to an extra week of leave for every week their premature baby spends in the hospital before their due date.

Catriona Ogilvy, who started the petition and is the founder of non-profit The Smallest Things, says she and her organization worked with the London mayor’s office to design the new policy. As she explained, “Visiting a premature baby on a neonatal intensive care unit is a traumatic, distressing time for parents without the added worry of work and pay. It certainly shouldn’t count as parental leave.”

Read more from Quartz’s series on Rewiring Childhood. This reporting is part of a series supported by a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The author’s views are not necessarily those of the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

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