Extra maternity leave puts small firms at risk

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has added its voice to the growing concerns from business over the Government’s announcement that it will extend maternity leave.

Simon Sweetman, vice-chairman of the FSB’s taxation committee, said the proposals in Gordon Brown’s pre-budget report had clearly been made with a general election in mind, and “with little thought to the impact on small employers”.

The CBI has already voiced concern that the extension will place a heavy burden on employers.

“All absence from work comes at a cost, and small firms are hit the hardest from the increases in costs associated with providing temporary cover,” Sweetman said.

“The administration of maternity leave is already a headache for small firms, and the proposed transferability of maternity leave will make this worse.”

However, he welcomed the implications of the Hampton Review. “With 350 different types of official inspectors enjoying rights of access to business premises, Philip Hampton’s review of inspection and enforcement is of vital importance to small firms,” he said.

“We are pleased that the review appears to be making significant progress. Gordon Brown today announced important commitments to information sharing between different inspectorates and to ensuring that all inspections occur for a reason, and not on a whim.”

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