Business leaders warn against the planned changes to maternity and paternity leave
Changes to maternity and paternity leave, which will allow new mums to transfer the last half of their 12-month maternity leave to their baby’s dad, have been confirmed by the Government, reports the BBC.
However, not everyone is jumping for joy at the plans. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that this would be one of eight extra costs to business that are planned for 2011, reports the Telegraph. “In order for businesses to get on with creating jobs, the constant threat of tinkering to employment law - from both parties - must stop,” said David Frost, director general of the BCC.
The changes shouldn’t be feared though, Business Minister Pat McFadden said. For example, in terms of impact on small businesses, the Business Department has claimed only about 1% would be affected.
“The balance between work and family life has changed for the better in the past decade and these changes will give parents the chance to share their leave will give families a useful element of flexibility and choice,” said Pat McFadden.
The planned changes mean if a new mum returns to work, the dad could take six months off and receive a statutory government payment of £123.06 per week for half of that time. Currently, dads are entitled to just two weeks.
“We've doubled maternity leave; doubled maternity pay; introduced paternity leave; more than doubled good quality affordable childcare places; and introduced right to request flexible working,” said the Minister for Women and Equality, Harriet Harman.
The changes would come into effect in England, Scotland and Wales from April next year, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said. Northern Ireland would probably follow later.
“This gives families radically more choice and flexibility in how they balance work and care of children, and enables fathers to play a bigger part in bringing up their children,” said Harriet Harman.
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