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New parental leave arrangements 'burden on employers'

The government has set out its new arrangements for parental leave, which will allow for mothers and fathers to split 50 weeks of leave between them.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he hoped they will allow women to stop feeling they have to choose between a career or a baby, will be introduced by April 2015.

Alexander Ehmann, from the Institute of Directors, said this new policy is "designed in such a way that it increases the burden on employers".

He noted that once parents have requested their leave, they can "effectively change (their) leave twice…which adds extra complexity from an employer's point of view."

The minister for employment relations and consumer affairs, Jo Swinson, said the government has understood the needs of businesses.

She said: "I don't think it is particularly complicated for employers. They will have eight weeks' notice of any leave that mothers or fathers are taking and indeed of any changes to that."

Ms Swinson also said "parents need to have flexibility to make decisions about what works for them."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Friday 29 November 2013.

  • 29 Nov 2013