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Family Friendly Proposals given go ahead

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The Government announced on 19 October, their intention to give more support to families by extending maternity & paternity leave and pay.

Whilst families welcomed the news, some employers will only see the measures as eroding their profit margins explains Employment Partner Tim Thompson at Broadway based Hegarty & Co Solicitors.

The proposals, contained in the Work and Families Bill, were announced by Alan Johnson the Trade and Industry Secretary and are expected to come into forced in April 2007.

Tim Thompson explained, “This will extend maternity leave and pay from six to nine months, but we know the Government is actually keen to extend this further to a year. The Bill will also improve the rights of new fathers by allowing them to take paternity leave if the mother returns to work after six months but before the end of her maternity leave. “

“In effect, it will mean that fathers could take three months paid paternity leave. Fathers would be only be paid the state allowance, which is currently £106 a week.”

The Bill illustrates the Government’s commitment to changing employment policies in the UK to becoming more family friendly. The proposals include carers being able to seek flexible working like workers of young children can so already.

Mr Thompson said, “Some employers will greet this news with much apprehension and despair. Smaller business in particular will feel that the Bill looks to help employees but will merely mean they will suffer as their staff are allowed longer time off.”

He concluded, “Extending maternity leave by three months will have an considerable impact upon employers. However, we will have to see if the extended paternity leave will be widely used. Statistics show that men often earn more and are employed in more senior positions than women. I doubt many men would necessarily wish or be able to afford to take advantage of this proposed legislation as a result of the personal finance implications.”

October 2005




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