FPB questions maternity leave extensionThe Forum of Private Business (FPB) has criticised the European parliament's decision to extend paid maternity leave, claiming that it could provide a further obstacle to business growth following the recession.

FPB research projects manager Thomas Parry questioned the wisdom of introducing such legislation at such a delicate time and suggested the announcement contradicts the EU's stated ambition to boost small business expansion.

"The timing of the vote to extend maternity leave is unhelpful as it sends out the wrong message to business owners and potential entrepreneurs," he explained. "Smaller businesses should not be saddled with more red tape from Europe."

Mr Parry added that private sector firms need further incentives to generate new employment in the wake of the global economic downturn and implied that further regulations could damage confidence among entrepreneurs.

Earlier this week, Working Families named car manufacturer Ford as the best employer for maternity provisions, with financial giant Citi following in second place.

Posted by Hayley Edwards