The number of jobs offering generous and extended parental leave has increased by 201% in the past three years and shared parental leave job postings have increased by 206%.
Research by global job website Indeed found that pharmaceutical and beauty chain Boots topped the list of companies with the most job postings mentioning generous parental leave. The company also offered enhanced maternity pay for staff.
Second on the list was BMI Healthcare, which offered up to 52 weeks’ maternity and adoption leave paid in full for the first 13 weeks. For paternity leave, it offered two weeks at full pay.
Shared parental leave and pay
Employees at Vodafone, which is fifth on the list, were offered 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave, the analysis showed.
According to Indeed the top 10 companies offering enhanced paternity benefits were:
- Boots UK
- BMI Healthcare
- DFS Furniture Stores
- Elysium Healthcare
- UK Ministry of Defence
- Jardine Motors Group
- IVC Evidensia
The highest ranked public sector employer was the Ministry of Defence which offered civilian members of staff 100% of their salary during the first 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML).
Employers are legally obliged to give new parents paid leave, but an ever-increasing number of job descriptions mention staff benefits over and above the statutory minimum, the recruitment site said.
Indeed’s analysis found the number of vacancies advertising an enhanced parental leave package was now three times higher than in 2018.
In the UK, statutory maternity leave lasts up to 52 weeks with statutory pay covering the first 39 weeks. By contrast, statutory paternity leave lasts just two weeks. Since 2015, couples have been able to share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay if they take shared parental leave.
New mothers receive 90% of their average weekly earnings in statutory pay for the first six weeks after their baby is born, followed by £151.97 a week (or 90% of pay if that is lower) for the next 33 weeks. However, many companies are going above and beyond that.
Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of global human resources at Indeed, said it was “encouraging to see a growing number of companies, in a wide variety of sectors, go above and beyond to give their employees enhanced parental leave but employers must also remember that parenting does not stop once their employee returns from leave.
“Paid leave programmes help improve a person’s wellbeing and when an employee is happy and feels appreciated it has a positive knock-on effect on their productivity and loyalty.”
Shared parental leave (SPL) was introduced in 2015, but take-up of the right has never shifted beyond single figures. In 2018, although 285,000 couples could qualify for the leave, only 2% took it, according to the government’s own estimates. Analysis of HMRC figures by law firm EMW last year estimated the same proportion took it up, equivalent to just 13,100 couples.
UK regulations dictated that eligible employees can take one or two weeks’ paternity leave within the first 56 days following the child’s birth and one or more periods of shared parental leave at any time before the child’s first birthday. However, an employee cannot take paternity leave if they have already taken a period of shared parental leave in relation to the same child. Therefore, an employee can choose to take both paternity leave and shared parental leave, but the period of paternity leave must come first.