Smaller businesses have a handle on parental leave

Three-quarters of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK believe that maternity and paternity leave is not a problematic issue for their company, according to new research.

The survey of 500 SMEs, by think-tank the Tenon Forum, reveals that there has been a 25% increase in confidence over parental issues since May 2005, when half of the SMEs questioned said that they were concerned about the effects of maternity and paternity leave and changing legislation.

Most of the employers that took part in the latest research said they had got to grips with parental matters, and that they did not have a significant impact on the running of their business.

Andy Rayner, chief executive of the Tenon Forum, said the shift in opinion highlighted a change in attitude.

“Senior staff have families, and the business needs to accommodate that,” he said. “Taking a positive attitude towards this can improve the culture of the business.”

The government has proposed to extend maternity leave to nine months, and to allow fathers to take three months’ paid leave if their partner returns to work after six months.




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