53% of UK small businesses support shared parental leave

Business owners says recent changes to maternity and paternity leave will improve staff loyalty and encourage better flexibility

Over half of the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses support the recent changes to shared parental leave, citing benefits of staff loyalty and the importance of allowing staff to have a good work/life balance.

The findings, highlighted in the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer study of 700 business owners, found that only 27% of small firms are against the concept. From April 5 2015, parents can now divide a total of 50 weeks maternity leave between them as they see fit.

Previously, new mothers were entitled to take up to a year’s maternity leave, whereas partners could only take two weeks paternity leave.

Despite the majority of businesses being in favour of the changes, almost half of the 27% who were unhappy about the new legislation said they are worried it will “harm” business continuity plans and create “unneccesary complications”.

In addition, an alarming 17% of business surveyed said they were completely unaware of employee rights on the issue of shared parental leave.

Close Brothers Invoice Finance CEO, David Thomson, commented:“When new laws come into effect it’s inevitable that a period of nervousness may follow as any potential impact of the changes come to light.

“However, shared parental leave is designed to provide more flexibility for parents and more choice, which is good thing for staff engagement and the workforce as a whole.”

For more information on shared parental leave and how it affects your business, read our dedicated guide here.

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