Business group says plans for extended parental benefits hurt small employers

There's opposition to the Federal Liberals making good on a campaign promise. 

A group that speaks for Canadian small businesses says extending leave and benefits for new parents will hurt the bottom line. 

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business believes the government's plan will put undue pressure on small employers, while still being "impractical" for average Canadian workers. 

"Nobody really thinks about the employer's side of the eqution," says CFIB president Dan Kelly. 

"If you've got 5 employees and you happen to have 2 that are off on parental leave, that's 40 percent of your workforce missing." 

Kelly calls the Liberals' plan to allow parents to stay at home for up to 18 months, "not particularly well-thought out." 

Parents who take the extra 6 months off will have to make do with less of their average weekly earnings -- a rate of 33 per cent, instead of the current rate of 55 per cent. 

Kelly doubts that many workers will be able to afford the additional cut in income. 

He predicts many small employers will struggle to find temporary contract workers to fill the void left by new parents on longer leaves, adding that many employees might have to pick up the slack when labour power is not replaced. 

The government argues the changes will help parents find more affordable child care options. 

Daycare spaces for toddlers are generally less costly than those for children younger than 18 months.