The DTI, which took charge of the issue from the Department for Education and Employment (now the Department for Education and Skills) is proposing working mothers be allowed to work part-time and that working fathers be given the right to request reduced hours from employers.
A spokesperson for the department told AccountancyAge.com a work/life balance taskforce has been set up to look at these issues and would begin its investigations in the ‘next two to three weeks’.
It is to be headed by Professor George Bain, current chairman of the Low Pay Commission. Bain and his team will consult with both employers and employees on the ‘problems and practicalities of these proposals’ and to see what kind of impact they will have on business.
In November, the taskforce is to make recommendations to the government on changes to employer rules and regulations.
The establishment of the taskforce is likely to wash well with the Institute of Management, who told AccountancyAge.com in April that there was support from business for increased maternity leave, provided it came with government support and allowances on the payroll.
However, Ruth Lea head of the policy unit at the Institute of Directors said increasing maternity rights would discourage employers from recruiting women, with existing regulations already ‘turning back the clock’ on job prospects for women.
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