By John Longworth, British Chamber of Commerce

Although well-meaning, proposals such as this create very real costs for businesses, which can in turn lead to reduced productivity, reduced growth and fewer jobs.

Businesses have already had to absorb over half a dozen changes to parental leave in the last decade - with one, shared parental leave, not even fully in place yet. This constant instability raises costs for business and generates uncertainty when it comes to taking on new staff.

It also raises the spectre of a dad being off for a month, returning to work for a couple of weeks, and then asking for shared parental leave as soon as he is eligible - which could be hugely disruptive to small and mid-sized firms whose success depends on the talents and contributions of each employee.

Expansions of parental leave may win votes, but come at a real cost to business. For that reason, they must be assessed as part of the wider costs to business by any future government - not simply added to an already high cost base.