Changes to paternity leave from 3 April, and the scrapping of the Default Retirement Age on 6 April will be damaging, claim business owners in an ongoing BCC survey


Ahead of changes to paternity leave and the abolition of the Default Retirement Age over the next few days, the British Chambers of Commerce released interim findings of a survey looking at the impact of changes in employment legislation on businesses.


Of 1,300 businesses, over half (52%) said that they expected additional paternity leave requirements to be detrimental to their businesses, with over a third (34%) claiming they would be extremely detrimental. When asked about the abolition of the Default Retirement Age*, a fifth (21%) believe it would harm their businesses.

  • New additional paternity leave legislation will allow fathers of children born on or after today (Sunday) to share the maternity leave and pay if the mother returns to work early. This will allow them to take a total of six months off.
  • From Wednesday, the Government will begin phasing out the Default Retirement Age, meaning employers lose the ability to manage their workforce after they turn 65. 

These two major changes to employment law will not be part of the exemption from domestic regulation for micro firms announced in last week’s Budget. That means the smallest firms will be affected, as well as larger companies.


Commenting, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:


“In the face of promises by the Government to listen to the needs of business and cut red tape, these two new pieces of employment regulation will hit businesses hard. The Budget revealed a policy to exempt start-ups and existing firms with fewer than ten employees from new domestic regulation. But this week’s changes show there is an urgent need to review and scale back policies already on the statute books. 


“The Government must go a step further and show all businesses that it is serious about deregulation. Arguably, any exemptions should include a wider scope of firms, not just micros.   


“Our survey results show that employment law changes are causing great concern among employers, who, instead of concentrating on running their business, have to cope with more and more shifts in employment law. Every change, no matter how small, costs employers time and money. Unless practical steps are taken to help free businesses from red tape, the burden on employers will only increase, and barriers to job creation and economic growth will remain.”