Increase in unpaid parental leave

Under rules brought in by the European Parliament, from March this year UK employers will have to allow parents to take 18 weeks’ parental leave per child instead of the current 13 weeks.

Previously, parental leave was available to employees on completion of one year’s service, was unpaid and had to be taken before the child’s fifth birthday.

Almost half of SME’s are unaware of the changes coming in and the effect it may have on their business according to a nationwide survey by employment law specialists Citation.

As the start date of the new legislation looms, Citation, based in Wilmslow, Cheshire, contacted SME business owners across the UK to understand their awareness of this important new change to employment law.

They were asked to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ regarding their knowledge of the new legislation and when it comes in. And also share their opinions on the involvement of the EU in the UK’s employment law.

Andrea O’ Hare, Head of Personnel and Employment Law said:”This additional five weeks of parental leave per parent per child, to be taken before the child’s fifth birthday, means that every working parent of a child under five will be entitled to take an additional week off work each year.

Our survey showed that 45% of businesses asked stated they didn’t know about the new legislation. This is surprising considering the impact it is likely to have, on SMEs in particular.

The survey also reveals the worrying number of business owners concerned by the EU’s increasing involvement in the UK’s employment laws; 63% rated the EU as having too much involvement.”

Operating throughout the UK since 1995, Citation provides professional advice and compliance packages to over 7,500 clients, mainly SMEs with between six and 200 employees. Independently endorsed at the highest level, its market leading services provide guaranteed protection in the high risk areas of employment law and health and safety regulations.

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