Business groups attack coalition plan for extended parental leave

BUSINESS groups yesterday leapt on government plans to extend legislation on parental leave, arguing that it contradicts the pledge to cut red tape.

A consultation paper proposes a new period of leave that could be shared between parents over 30 weeks, following initial leave periods.

“The proposals look to allow more flexible parental leave, but will lead to uncertainty and expose employers to endless appeals, legal challenges and grievances,” said David Frost, head of the British Chambers of Commerce.

“These kinds of laws create huge uncertainty for employers, and prevent them from taking on more staff.”

Despite pledging to slash red tape as part of chancellor George Osborne’s “plan for growth”, the coalition government has actually increased the regulatory burden on small firms, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said yesterday.

“Only days after announcing the welcomed employment law review, a raft of new employment burdens were announced,” the FSB complained.

Business secretary Vince Cable defended the proposals. “New parents should be able to choose their childcare arrangements for themselves, rather than being dictated to by rigid government regulation,” Cable said.