Employers expecting difficulty with new employee rights
Many employers are expecting to find it difficult to cope with new legal rights for mothers and fathers which will come into force in April 2007, a new survey from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and accounting firm KPMG reveals.
Under the Work and Families Act (WFA), maternity and adoption pay will be extended from six to nine months, while the right to request flexible working will extend to the carers of adults. Fathers will also be entitled to extra paternity rights.
However, only ten per cent of employers surveyed for the research said that they thought that the new guidelines would be beneficial to their business, with smaller employers in particular anticipating problems.
Around 64 per cent of employers said that they expected the paternity leave provisions of the legislation to cause them some or significant difficulties, while 57 per cent thought that the maternity and adoption provision would cause them difficulties.
Only four per cent of employers thought that the new rights for carers of adults to request flexible working practices would cause them problems.
"There is evident scepticism about some of the WFA provisions, especially those relating to paternity leave, and concern about the difficulties that might arise in meeting them," said Mike Emmott, CIPD adviser on employee relations.
"It is possible that such reservations simply reflect the caution with which employers tend to embrace any new regulations. But the government needs to reassure employers about the administration of the new provisions."