Employers expect to face difficulties implementing Work and Families Act rights

Most employers expect difficulty coping with the introduction of new rights for workers with family responsibilities this week, research has found.

Employers believe the implementation of new legal rights for working mothers and fathers, many of which come into force on 6 April, will cause them difficulty.

A survey of 1,000 organisations by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and professional services firm KPMG looked at the impact on organisations of provisions in the Work and Families Act.

The new legislation will extend maternity and adoption pay from six to nine months, and extend the right to request flexible working to carers.

Although most employers consider themselves to be prepared for the implementation of the legislation, only one in 10 employers surveyed think any of the provisions will be beneficial to their organisation.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of employers surveyed think the paternity leave provisions will cause them either some (48%) or significant (16%) difficulties, while 57% think the maternity and adoption pay provisions will cause difficulties.

Mike Emmott, CIPD adviser, employee relations, said: “These results do not necessarily mean that employers are hostile to the Work and Families Act.

“However, it is clear from the survey that there is scepticism about some of the provisions, especially those relating to paternity leave, and concern about the difficulties that might arise in implementing them.

“It is possible that such reservations simply reflect the caution with which employers tend to embrace any new regulations. But the government needs to reassure employers about the administration of the new provisions.”

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