AM Online

Many firms unaware of new maternity legislation

A new survey has found that a third of small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs), which include many car dealers, are unaware of changes to maternity legislation introduced from April 1.

The new laws were part of the Work and Families Act and dictate that women’s paid maternity leave must be nine months long, rather than six, and that employers must keep their job open for a year.

It also makes women eligible for a year’s maternity leave from the moment they begin employment. Previously, they had to work for nine months before qualifying for leave in excess of six months.

However, there are also benefits for the employer. Staff must give at least eight weeks’ notice before they return to work, more than double the previous requirement.

The research, commissioned by Citrix Online, also revealed that 53% of employers believe the new regulations are making companies think twice about recruiting women.

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