SMEs reveal concerns over shared parental leave

Shared parental leave comes into effect from the start of April yet 36% of small businesses are not ready to implement it, new research suggests.


Law firm Slater and Gordon revealed that 44% of firms are also worried about how it will impact upon their business.


Only 14% of firms said they fully supported the new regulations and believe it will have a positive effect on their company.


Half of those questioned said that the time and costs related to hiring staff to cover those on leave could be an issue, especially in smaller firms where staff can have many different roles.


Some 42% also worried that staff without children would be resentful towards those that do while 36% though absence would negatively impact upon their business.


A further 28% thought it would have a detrimental effect on staff morale, with major concerns existing around potential lost sales.


While any financial losses should not impact too heavily upon larger firms, there is a chance that smaller firms could struggle to cope should several key staff be off at the same time.


For bosses with concerns over their finances – for whatever reason – seeking professional help and guidance is recommended as it may help to find solutions.


In the worst instances, insolvency practitioners could recommend business turnaround methods or other ways of streamlining a business to make it more financially efficient.


One in five business leaders who was questioned in the survey revealed that they were “putting off” preparing for shared parental leave until an employee asked for it.


A similar number of bosses revealed that they had already received requests from their employees for time away from the workplace.


The key to managing the new regulations will be prior preparation as measures can then be put in place to manage proceeding when staff are away.


With the changes due to occur in the coming weeks, some businesses could choose to get ahead by providing shared parental leave as part of benefits packages.


By Phil Smith


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