Monday, October 02, 2006

Employment rights for all the family

The Work and Families Act 2006 came into force on 1 October 2006. Among other things, it makes provisions for maternity pay and leave.

These provisions apply to an employee whose expected week of childbirth begins on or after 1 April 2007. Such an employee will be entitled to take a whole year's maternity leave, and to return to her job at the end of the year. The size of the company she works for is irrelevant. Also irrelevant is how long she had worked there in the first place. Before this law, one year's maternity leave was only granted if the employee had been working for that firm for roughly six months. Under the new laws, even if an employee were hired while pregnant, she would still be entitled to a year off, and to return to her post, or a similar one.

This law will be welcomed by many, but it will most likely hit small firms hard. Many of them will not be able to hold open an employee's post for a year. Before the new law, small firms with fewer than five employees were exempt from that requirement. Now they must all comply.

While family-friendly employment laws are desirable, surely some regard must be paid to their impact on small business? A CBI report published today shows that new employment laws have cost UK businesses up to £37bn in the last nine years. Perhaps it is time that someone took into account the concerns of small businesses. There seems to be a mentality among this Government that business is a bad thing, and therefore to be regulated with a heavy hand. They should however note that it will be in nobody's interests if businesses close because they cannot cope with the legal and regulatory burdens imposed by the Government. Not only would the Exchequer suffer through lost taxes, such a situation would also imperil the prospects of these employees about whom the Government claim to care.

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Anonymous Ellee said...

Is it tax deductable? That would certainly help small businesses.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Serf said...

It will lead to discrimination against women likely to get pregnant in the near future.

6:01 AM  
Blogger John East said...

This government is so pathetic. The unintended consequence of this stupidity will be that more women will forced out of the workplace and back into their traditional roll, housewives.
It sounds more like an old Tory initiative to me than New Labour. It just goes to show how incompetent these buffoons are.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous madness said...

serf, exactly. why would a small firm now want to employ a woman of child=bearing age?

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Tory Lady said...

This Government know nothing about income generation or wealth creation. They only come alive when it's time to spend money, and even that, they can't get right. They impose heavy burdens on the income creators, and then piss the money up the wall.

10:15 AM  

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