Small businesses may suffer under new employment legislation introduced by the Queen’s Speech yesterday. Thirteen new Bills were published in the Queen’s Speech, including legislation providing for flexible working arrangements for parents; the right to request training; and a statutory entitlement to apprenticeships for all qualified young people. David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce commented that proposed employment legislation could cost businesses a great deal of time. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is similarly concerned that plans to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of children up to 16 will present difficulties for smaller businesses. The lobby group previously urged a pause on the extension to this legislation given the difficult economic climate. John Wright, national chairman of the FSB said: “Measures to extend flexible working for parents will be an extra burden for small businesses at an already difficult time. The FSB is also concerned that small firms will struggle to pay extra business rate charges in what will be a very difficult year.” The FSB is also concerned that enshrining the right of employees to request time to undertake training in law will cause administrative problems for small employers. The lobby group responded positively to apprenticeship proposals however, and welcomed reforms to the financial sector as a ‘big step forward’.

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