By Max Clarke
Latest research from BDRC Continental shows that while employee’s rights to paternity leave are well understood, few SMEs are aware of an impending change in regulation that will give employees the right to request time off for training.
A significant proportion (79%) of SMEs are aware of workers’ rights to additional paternity leave, yet less than half (48%) are aware of the new right to request time off for study or training that will be introduced in April. The research also shows that businesses employing 10-49 staff are least aware of the impending change to training rights - 46% - compared to 58% of businesses employing between 50 and 249 staff.
However, the survey reveals that while businesses are aware of employees’ rights to parental leave, the introduction of training rights is more popular. 57% support the changes to introduce time off for training, while 49% of small businesses support parental rights, although one third of SMEs do not support either of the new rights for workers. There are also signs that some SMEs will see additional regulations as an added burden on business. 55% of respondents said they would find it very difficult to implement the changes — a figure that is highest among businesses with 5-9 employees (68%).
SMEs were divided as to whether the new regulations would make them reluctant to take on more staff — 29% felt it would, 15% said ‘definitely,’ while another third (34%) said it would make no difference and 37% have no plans to hire staff anyway.
Vicky Whiting, Associate Director for BDRC Continental says SMEs have been given a breathing space: “The Budget has just thrown small businesses a lifeline over the change to employee’s rights by giving businesses employing less that ten people a further three years before having to implement the new regulations. It will clearly make a difference to the pressure those businesses are under. However, it isn’t all doom and gloom; some businesses do report that the regulations could make them reluctant to take on more staff, but one third of businesses felt it wouldn’t make a difference.”