Feature

Parental leave legislation boosts demand for contractors



Tina Milton

Temporary jobs in the workplace will increase after parental leave legislation comes into effect, claims the Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services (FRES), an organisation than represents recruitment businesses.

Either parent of a child born or adopted after December 15, 1999, many take unpaid leave of up to 13 weeks at any point during the first five years of that child's life. Under the legislation, employees cannot be victimised and retain their employment status on a continuous basis while they are away.

According to Chris Little, chief executive of FRES, parental leave is likely to result in increased demand for temporary workers to cover periods of absence. She said, "Inevitably, employers will find it hard to cover gaps in teams for these periods. Whilst the leave requires a degree of notice and is unpaid, undoubtedly many parents will want to take advantage of the flexibility the new rules offer. We see the temporary labour market benefiting as employers seek short-term cover - our estimates show that demand for temporary staff is bound to rise in the year 2000."

Under the regulations, employers can ask workers to defer their parental leave until a time more convenient to the business, if there are legitimate reasons. Similar legislation is already in place in Europe and is proving popular with those who want to combine their career with seeing the family.


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This was first published in January 2000

 

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