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Legal Updates

Small firms may be able to avoid Maternity and Paternity rights

15 March 2011 #Employment


Small firms with fewer than 10 employees may be able to avoid granting employees parental rights according to details leaked in the Sunday Telegraph. The Government`s ‘Growth Strategy` which will form part of the forthcoming Budget aims to reduce restrictions on small business by exempting companies with fewer than 10 employees from having to offer certain maternity or Paternity rights, such as the new flexible rights to transfer leave between parents.

Whilst the Federation of Small Businesses is supporting such changes, due regard should be given to the potentially damaging effect this will have on the significant proportion of the workforce who are employed by small firms. Such deregulation would also fly in the face of the Government`s supposed commitment to work life balance and ironically, could well hinder its ‘Growth strategy`. 

It is possible that in the long run, businesses on the cusp of the `10 or fewer` limit might decide to down size to avoid the obligations of the legislation and talented employees might opt to work for larger firms.

It is difficult to see how the Government could completely remove the obligations on small firms as this would be against European Law.  However, there may be the prospect of relaxing the extensive family friendly legislation which is currently in place, so that it still meets European minimum requirements.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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