More than half of bosses at Yorkshire’s small and medium-sized businesses back the concept of shared parental leave.
The latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey seeking the opinion of SMEs on business matters, found 56% supported the concept while 25% were against it.
Until March this year, new mothers were entitled to up to a year’s maternity leave, whereas employed partners could take just two weeks away from work on paternity.
Since April 5, 2015, in addition to the compulsory two weeks maternity leave, parents can now divide a total of 50 weeks between them as they see fit.
The survey shows that 48% of those supporting the idea see a benefit in terms of staff loyalty and 31% stress that this added flexibility is vital in allowing staff a good work/life balance.
However, of those respondents who are unhappy about the new legislation, 38% believe it could harm business continuity plans and create unnecessary complications for employers.
Lee Hayes, regional sales director of Close Brothers Invoice Finance, said: “When new laws come into effect, it’s inevitable that a period of nervousness may follow as any potential impact of the changes come to light.
“However, shared parental leave is designed to provide more flexibility for parents and more choice, which is good thing for staff engagement and the workforce as a whole.”
The survey further found that 11% of employers in the region are completely unaware of employee rights on the issue.
Mr Hayes said: “Maternity leave and employee law in general can be a confusing area. Our advice to business owners would be to take time to educate themselves and their staff and seek advice from the HR experts.
“In today’s climate, education is key and companies should ensure they apply this approach not only to when it comes to employee law, but right across all aspects of the organisation including sales, marketing and crucially, finances.”