As part of a set of ‘family-friendly’ proposals, Labour Leader Ed Miliband has announced that a Labour government will double the length of paternity leave and vastly increase levels of paternity pay. New fathers will be offered four weeks away from work and be paid £260 per week – £100 more than at present. The plans will be funded from savings from tax credits.
Responding to this news, Gordon Millward, Regional Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“Businesses will have legitimate concerns about these proposals and it’s important political parties understand the practical implications of policy changes. Altering paternity leave so soon after introducing shared parental leave has the potential to cause confusion amongst businesses that are only getting to grips with the most recent changes. We’d like to see shared parental leave have a chance to bed in before seeking to give dads extra time off.
“The reality is that for small businesses in particular, extending paternity leave from two to four weeks makes it much more likely that they will have to buy in replacement staff as they will struggle with absences. That’s a cost that some firms will struggle to afford.”