Increased flexible working rights will damage business

Productivity will suffer if flexible working rights for employees are extended, according to a new survey.

The Government has said it will extend flexible working rights for mothers and fathers, with maternity leave being increased from six months to 12.

However, 61 per cent of businesses polled by Croner Consulting believe the Government’s recent proposal to extend paid maternity leave from six months to a year will negatively impact their bottom line.

During their paternity leave, most employees are entitled to statutory paternity pay (SSP) currently stands at £102.80 per week Ð or 90 per cent of average weekly earnings if this is less than £102.80.

This would be increased to 90 per cent of average weekly earnings for those earning more than £102.80 under new government plans. Those on statutory maternity leave would also be able to transfer some of their paid maternity leave to their partner.

Richard Smith, HR expert at Croner Consulting, said current provisions for working parents are adequate.

“The survey results aren’t surprising and echo a rising debate on whether employees’ rights are going too far,Ó he said.

“Most employers try to accommodate working parents as best as they can, but the law should support the employer’s need for the work to be done. Employers’ rights need to be balanced with those of the employee, and further provisions for parents and carers would leave many businesses struggling to cope.

“This is especially true for smaller firms which may find it difficult to bear the costs of recruiting and training replacement staff,” Smith said.

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