CBI slams maternity proposals

The
Government’s maternity leave proposals are a major disappointment, according to
the CBI.

The
CBI claims that firms need at least six weeks’ notice when new mothers return
to work instead of the extension from three weeks to four weeks being proposed
by ministers.

But
it says that businesses will work hard to accommodate the rules governing two
weeks paternity leave and 13 weeks parental leave.

The
criticisms were published yesterday in the CBI’s submission to a government
consultation.

Digby
Jones, director general of the CBI, said, “The Government seems determined to
deliver to parents but is less willing to deliver for business – the job
creators in our society.”

The
CBI is concerned over proposals to prevent companies from contacting employees
before the end of their maternity leave.

Jones
said, “Businesses, especially smaller ones, need to plan ahead. It is a fact of
life that many people tell employers they plan to return to work just to keep
their options open. Is it really unreasonable for a firm to clarify an
employee’s intentions before the return date?”

The
CBI rejects the proposal that employers must inform women of all their
individual rights within a week of hearing of a pregnancy and claims that three
weeks would be more realistic.

It
also urges the government to accept the full cost of paying and administering
the two-week paternity pay that comes in from 2003.

By
Katie Hawkins

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