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New guide on Parental Leave


A guide to help small businesses cope with maternity, parental and emergency leave was officially launched yesterday by Employment Minister Tessa Jowell.

The guide has been developed by a partnership of small business organisations, the recruitment industry and Government departments, which was set up to to ensure that small businesses are:

  • advised how best to handle temporary leave absences, and in particular how to make full use of Jobcentre and recruitment agency services to obtain suitable cover;
  • sufficiently well informed about the obligations of maternity, parental and temporary leave legislation by signposting the main sources of information and advice.
Tessa Jowell said:

“Small employers need to be able to balance the needs of their business and the personal needs of their staff. This new guide offers a practical way forward for small businesses to manage maternity and parental leave.

“We understand employers may be concerned about the inconvenience of being without a particular skilled worker on leave. As a first step the guide aims to ease these concerns by providing small businesses with advice on minimising disruption to the workplace.

“The guide examines the recruitment channels available to employers and the financial and legal ramifications of employing temporary staff.

“The guide also encourages employers to make the best use of unemployed and existing temporary workers registered with employment agencies to fill absences. Temporary work can offer a valuable route back into full employment for unemployed people.”

Ms Marcia Roberts from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) said:

“The REC welcomes the guide which will be a useful reference manual for small businesses. It provides succinct information on how agencies can solve employers’ recruitment problems, and gives direction to guidance on the complex laws relating to maternity and parental leave.”

Ms Yvonne Riedel from the Federation of Small Businesses said:

“Small employers often rely on a small number of key staff and it can be a real challenge for them to cover the workload of an employee on leave – be it maternity, parental or even sick leave. We therefore welcome any practical help to small businesses in this area.”

2 Responses

  1. Where’s the guide?
    This is one of those occasions when a government announcement is made about a resource and they don’t tell you where it is or how to find it!

    The guide results from a consultation which was due to close on 8th September, and the DfEE who made the announcement about the guide refer to the Employment Service website at, a little searching there will lead on to A guide for small businesses which includes details and contacts for a number of guides.

    As further help the following are useful contacts for further information on parental rights and should also (eventually) be able to provide copies of the guide mentioned:

    THE EMPLOYMENT SERVICE telephone – 020 7273 6173, or contact your local Jobcentre, website –

    THE RECRUITMENT AND EMPLOYMENT CONFEDERATION (REC) telephone – 020 7462 3260, website –

    FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES telephone – 020 75928100, website –

    FORUM FOR PRIVATE BUSINESS, telephone – 01565 634467, website –

    SMALL BUSINESS SERVICE, telephone – 020 7215 5363, website –

    BRITISH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE, telephone – 020 7565 2000, website –

  2. Where is the guide?
    The article refers to and talks about a new guide on parental leave. Where is the guide? How do I obtain access?

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