The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has accused the
Conservative Party of not practising ‘serious politics’ in its threat to
abolish new maternity and paternity rights.
Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference last week, Tim Yeo, shadow
trade and industry secretary, said that rights to extra maternity and paternity
leave under the 2000 Employment Act, which came into force in April this year,
could be scrapped.
Yeo said the Conservatives would apply ‘sunset clauses’ that would review
the legislation and repeal it if it was shown the law was imposing an
unreasonable burden on business and damaging job creation.
"I won’t intervene in relations between employers and employees any
more than is absolutely necessary," Yeo said. "But we can’t make
Britain a better place to live in unless we also make it a better place to do
However, Mike Emmott, CIPD head of employee relations, said maternity and
paternity rights were seen in a positive light by both employees and by business,
and actually enabled men and women to make an increased contribution to the
"These rights are well established and reflect good practice in
business," he said. "This is not practical politics and is a
statement Tim Yeo might come to regret."
Emmott added that the threat could just be rhetoric, as he believed no
incoming government would abolish maternity and paternity rights.
Rachel Maskill, head of equalities at the Amicus union, said the
Conservatives had lost touch with voters by attacking family-friendly policies.
By Michael Millar