Shared parental leave plans could be the death of small businesses

The Government has worked hard to create a far more attractive landscape for businesses to operate, or so we thought until the deputy prime minister threw in his two-penneth worth.

Every now and then the Government has to give Nick Clegg the chance to flex his deputy prime ministerial muscles but does it have to be such a counter intuitive, counter-productive one as his bonkers parental leave law?

By a stroke of a pen the Coalition has massacred small businesses with a universe of red tape, which will cause as much turbulence in its administration as in its practice.

I’m not against equality, but I am not happy that under these new laws twice as many workers as before can now come and go as they please, regardless of the impact to business and ultimately their employment if their company goes broke!

Okay, so I’m not going to go bust by this, but this country is made up of thousands of small businesses for whom this may well be a death sentence.

What a way to thank them for rallying around to create economic growth by wrapping them in a thicket of red tape. And let’s be clear, this stuff was manufactured in Westminster not Brussels!

And for those who don’t think it’s going to be a complete administrative and operational nightmare – check this out: Once the mother’s two-week recovery period after birth is complete, she and her partner can split their leave equally. 

Either one will be entitled to 90 per cent of their usual pay until six weeks after the birth, followed by a 33-week period of statutory pay, which at present is £136.78 a week.

The remainder of the year is unpaid. Under the rules, eight weeks’ notice will be needed for shared paternity leave.

It’s not even as simple as splitting parental leave down the middle, under the new laws; it can be an on-again-off-again affair of disastrous proportions.

What’s more, I’m a member of Business for Britain, and as such am behind David Cameron’s project of renegotiating our relationship with the EU, with special regards to all the unnecessary rubbish that spews out of the bureaucratic hellhole that is Brussels.

How the hell can we be serious about reigning in those economically illiterate nutters when we can’t control our own?

Charlie Mullins is the CEO and founder of Pimlico Plumbers

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