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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

Plans to change parental leave welcomed by Cumbria businesses

CUMBRIAN business leaders have welcomed changes to parental leave.

The proposals are due to take effect in 2015.

They will mean parents are able to share 50 weeks of leave, either in blocks or broken up over a year.

They will also have a legal right to return to their old jobs at the end of their maternity or paternity leave as long as they’ve been off for fewer than six months.

Gary Lovatt, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses in Cumbria, says it could help his members.

“The government has listened to employers and taken significant steps to simplify its proposals for shared parental leave.

“FSB research has found a third of small firms find the current system to be one of the most difficult and time consuming areas of employment law to comply with”.

The proposals also say all parents with children aged under 18 will be able to claim 18 weeks of parental leave per year for each of their children. At the moment the leave is only available to parents of children under five.

The plans were introduced by the Liberal Democrats despite opposition from senior Tories.

Nick Clegg, leader of the Lib Dems, says women will no longer have to choose between having a baby and a career.

He also believes it will have a positive effect for employers. Employees will have to give two months’ notice of their plans to take leave and businesses will be able to insist the leave is taken all at once.

Mr Lovatt added: “The decision to give each parent a maximum of three opportunities to request leave as opposed to an unlimited number will make the system far more manageable for small businesses, while still maintaining flexibility for parents.”

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