A leading business group has criticised Labour’s proposals for a “father’s month” of paternity leave, branding it a “tax on business”.
The British Chamber of Commerce said giving fathers a month’s paid leave and increasing the minimum level of paternity pay would hurt small and medium-sized businesses.
Labour leader Ed Miliband is expected to detail his party’s proposals in a speech today.
BCC director general John Longworth said: “The father’s month proposal amounts to a tax on business. Although well-meaning, proposals such as this create very real costs for businesses, which can in turn lead to reduced productivity, reduced growth and fewer jobs.
“Expansions of parental leave may win votes, but come at a real cost to business. For that reason, they must be assessed as part of the wider costs to business by any future government not simply added to an already high cost base.”
Meanwhile, figures from law firm EMW showed parents are reducing the amount of parental leave they take. Fathers on paternity leave in 2013-14 received £215 on average – the equivalent of one and a half weeks of paternity leave.