Government postpones plans for extended parental leave
The Government has postponed plans to extend paid maternity and paternity leave, because it is too expensive for businesses to implement during the recession.
At present, fathers are entitled to one or two weeks’ paid paternity leave within 56 days of their child’s birth. The proposed changes, announced under the Work and Families Act (2006), would extend paid maternity leave from nine to 12 months. The reforms would also allow fathers to share up to six months of this, giving parents more choice over who is the primary carer.
The changes were due to be introduced in April 2009, but have been delayed indefinitely because of concerns over the amount of administration they would generate for businesses.
“We have not yet announced a date for extending maternity and paternity rights,”
said Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS: Formerly BERR) spokesman Joe Upton.
“We are continuing to review the appropriateness of all new regulations due to come into force in the current economic climate. It is only right that in tough economic times we look afresh at the costs and benefits of new regulations.”
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) welcomed the postponement, saying the reforms would create too much costly administration for firms.
“The bureaucratic burden involved in allowing mothers and fathers to share parental leave has always concerned us,”
said CIPD employee relations adviser Mike Emmott.
“In most cases parents work for different companies, making the administration of the measure potentially very complicated.
“However, we believe there remains a strong case for more generous paternity leave in the medium term,” he added. “The recession-inspired shelving of the existing proposals must be used by politicians and business leaders to come up with workable proposals that balance competing demands in a way that works for business.”