As you may have seen on our news page plans to increase the time parents/guardians can take off for a new baby/adoption may be put on ice. The plans were to increase maternity to 52 weeks from the present 39 and to allow parental leave for fathers to increase also, including being able to take up unused maternity leave.  Our clients and friends who run their own firm all fall into the SME category, which is probably the largest employer of staff in the UK.  None of them, when asked, thought the new proposals workable and have said it would probably make them think twice before employing women who could become pregnant.

This to me raises two points

1/ The proposed legislation would, in reality rather than in the committee rooms in Whitehall, make women under the age of 40ish worse off in the employment stakes

2/ The legislation has been poorly drawn up as no one seems to have picked up on the fact that men were to be able to pick up the maternity leave unused by their partner

Lord Mandleson wants to put any legislation that might be bad for business on a bonfire, this should be one of the first to go onto the pyre of poor policy