According to a leaked report from Downing Street, parents should not be able to request additional leave from work until at least 2017 due to cost and potential operational problems.
The report also urges a relaxation of British laws to allow small firms to opt out of seven different employment laws including providing pensions for their workers. A wider move to allow flexible working for all employees from next year should also be scrapped, it recommends.
The Daily Telegraph has obtained a copy of the Beecroft report, a controversial set of recommendations on reforming Britain’s employment laws and regulations which are “impeding” business and “exacerbating the national problem of high unemployment”.
It is claimed that the measures would save business billions of pounds and allow them to “grow and employ more people”.
However, ministers are determined to push ahead with the flexible parental leave scheme, in a move which is expected to lead to renewed accusations that the Government is not focused on helping Britain recover from recession.
The decision runs contrary to one of the key recommendations in the 24-page Beecroft report, compiled by Adrian Beecroft, one of Britain’s most successful venture capitalists, in conjunction with Government officials and lawyers.
The report concludes: “This proposal is very expensive for the Exchequer (roughly £150m p.a.) and will impose significant operational problems on business. The proposal should (preferably) be scrapped or alternatively be deferred until the deficit has been eliminated. If it is introduced there should at least be provisions ensuring that employers are given reasonable notice of periods of absence.”
Mr Beecroft was commissioned by Downing Street to conduct his review, which was completed last autumn,
David Cameron is said to be in favour of many of the proposals but the key recommendations have been blocked by Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, and other Liberal Democrats.
Until today, the report has not been published despite being the subject of intense Whitehall negotiations. Dr Cable is soon to publish the report after a series of Freedom of Information requests.