New long-term sick leave rules put SMEs off hiring staff

New rules on long-term sick leave are preventing almost three-quarters of small businesses from employing new staff, a business lobby group has warned.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said a European Court of Justice ruling last year is having a detrimental effect on small businesses. It decided that, under the Working Time Directive, statutory entitlement to paid annual leave could continue during long-term sick leave and be added on when the worker returned.

Its poll of more than 1,400 small firms found seven out of 10 said it was affecting how they employed people, with nearly four out of 10 now more cautious about taking on new staff with health problems and 17% saying they would now be more likely simply to dismiss staff on long-term sick leave.

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