By Max Clarke

Half of business owners fear changes to employment law, including the paternity leave changes discussed by the previous administration and introduced by Nick Clegg, as well as the scrapping of the default retirement age, will be detrimental to their business; a survey has revealed.

A further 21% of respondents from the survey of 1,300 businesses, carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), fear the effects that scrapping the default retirement age will have on their businesses.

“In the face of promises by the Government to listen to the needs of business and cut red tape, these two new pieces of employment regulation will hit businesses hard,” commented David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce. “The Budget revealed a policy to exempt start-ups and existing firms with fewer than ten employees from new domestic regulation. But this week’s changes show there is an urgent need to review and scale back policies already on the statute books.

Continued Frost: “Our survey results show that employment law changes are causing great concern among employers, who, instead of concentrating on running their business, have to cope with more and more shifts in employment law. Every change, no matter how small, costs employers time and money. Unless practical steps are taken to help free businesses from red tape, the burden on employers will only increase, and barriers to job creation and economic growth will remain.”

Other commentators, however, have welcomed the news and the positive effects it will likely have on workplace diversity, as Chris Parke, managing director and co-founder of Talking Talent, explains:

“From a corporate point of view, this new legislation will help create a more diverse workforce, and it will support organisations in maintaining career momentum for women. And, for those families where the woman is the main bread winner, or whose career takes precedence, the legislation will really provide them with greater choice and flexibility.