Chamber hits out at maternity plans

Two-thirds
of firms are opposed to paid paternity leave, according to a survey by the
British Chambers of Commerce.

It
claims proposals to introduce a right to reduced working hours for mothers
following maternity leave and extending maternity leave and pay periods would
impact negatively on business.

About
400 businesses surveyed were in opposition to the measures, and they believe
that 85 per cent of UK companies would suffer as a result of the proposals.

The
report, which included firms with over 50 employees, warns that the proposals
could mean that new fathers working for companies that provide discretionary
paid leave could be worse off. It claims that in some cases these firms offer
greater provision than the Government.

Chris
Humphries, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said,
"The Government should seek to work with companies to build on good
practice, particularly in the area of childcare provision. Businesses don’t
need regulation to change and improve their practices ñ they simply need
support."

Julie
Malpass, people support officer at West Bromwich Building Society, claimed the
proposals, embodied in the Work and Parents Green Paper, could create fierce competition
among employers to provide the best maternity packages.

She
said, "More and more mothers with young families are wanting to return to
work and will go to the employers offering the best package.

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