The coalition government has announced a widening of the provision of maternity and paternity leave, allowing partners (I am sure I should not say husbands and wives!) to share their entitlement to maternity/ paternity leave.
I have to save that I find this difficult to believe. I thought the Conservative party of government understood the high cost of many employment protection laws and was minded to sweep many away. Instead, we find a new obligation on employers, whether they are a multi-national or a high street sole trader.
Apparently a husband and wife can decide which of them should claim maternity/paternity leave! Imagine you are a plumber or a plasterer with one, two or three employees. You already face all the hassle of payroll, taxation, employment law, health & safety and a whole list of other constraints on running a business and making a modest profit. You now face the uncertainty of one of your team deciding they are going to stay at home to care for a child with all the problems not to mention costs of finding a replacement for the period of leave.
This can be hard enough for a big business but very difficult for a small trader. This just feels so non-Conservative to leave me wondering if it is a compromise to the Liberal side of the coalition. I hope so.