Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could be increasingly reluctant to employ women because of changes to maternity legislation, a new study claims.
Commissioned by Citrix Online, the research reveals that more than half (53 per cent) of employers think that the new regulations are making some managers think twice about recruiting women.
The government changed the rules for maternal and paternal leave for parents of babies due after April 1st this year.
Pregnant employees are entitled to 52 weeks' leave, 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave.
Changes include the extension of statutory maternity pay from six to nine months and enable all mothers to take 12 months maternity leave, regardless of how long they have been employed in their position.
The Citrix study showed that a third (34 per cent) of employers were unaware of changes and how their business could be affected.
However, some 72 per cent of respondents thought the new regulations would encourage companies to implement additional flexible working practices to assist working mothers manage the demands of work and family.