BUSINESS leaders have reacted with dismay at proposals that will allow working mothers to bring their babies to work and expect employers to provide private breastfeeding rooms, to be put forward by the government tomorrow.
Health secretary, Andrew Lansley, said over the weekend that he intended to introduce the proposals earlier than required by the European Pregnant Workers directive, and is planning to launch a pilot scheme including hundreds of businesses in the next few months.
“Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to give babies good health, but our society doesn’t always make it easy for new mums to do it,” he said. “If we can make it easier, more mums would breastfeed and they might do it for longer.”
But Stephen Alambritis, spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said firms were struggling to cope with continual new additions to employment legislation.
“Each one in itself is reasonable and justifiable, but together, year on year, the cumulative impact is the cost of a job,” he said.
“At a time when the private sector is expected to pick up the job losses in the public sector, now is not the time to be introducing a raft of employment regulations.”