§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what evaluation he has made of the use by each member state of the European Union of the protective provisions for small businesses under the Parental Leave Directive. 
§ Mr. Ian McCartney
Information we have been able to access suggests that there are some limited variations on some aspects of the provisions for small businesses across EC member states. For example, in Belgium, where there is a requirement to allow employees to take their leave on a part-time basis for six months, there is an exemption applying to companies with fewer than 10 employees. In the Netherlands, parental leave can be postponed in a small company if a replacement cannot be found.