By Max Clarke

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has joined fellow chambers from across Europe to make a submission to the European Commission urging it to avoid legislating on EU-wide paternity leave legislation.

The European Commission is currently considering and assessing different legislative and non-legislative options for introducing and/or promoting paternity leave at the EU level. The consultation looks at legislative measures governing length of paternity leave, in addition to remuneration.

In a paper sent to the European Commission, the BCC warned that any attempt to set down common EU rules on length of leave and pay would result in considerable costs.

Commenting on the European Commission’s consultation on paternity leave, Kieran O’Keeffe, Head of EU Representation at the BCC said:

“The EU should avoid legislating on paternity leave and allow member states to tailor systems to their own national circumstances and labour market conditions.

“Europe needs to focus on growth not adding new payroll costs for overburdened companies and national social security systems. A move, for example, to increase paternity leave to full pay would be particularly onerous costing the UK £0.4bn annually.

“We have fragile labour markets not just in the UK but right across the EU; further European legislation would only serve to strangle growth and hinder job creation.”