Employers are more than twice as likely (102%) to offer enhanced parental leave packages compared with last year, analysis has shown.
According to hiring website Indeed, the UK is shifting to a more inclusive approach to parenting and childcare.
The evidence for this was a 13-fold increase in the number of vacancies advertising an enhanced parental leave package (defined as what is offered above the statutory minimum in the UK), and a doubling in the number of job postings mentioning shared parental leave. The latter rose by 279% since 2019.
Indeed’s study singled out Boots as the company with most roles offering enhanced parental leave benefits.
While employers are legally obliged to give new parents paid leave, Indeed said its analysis showed a continuous rise in the number of job descriptions on its site offering jobseekers benefits over and above the statutory minimum. This is based on postings that advertise “generous, extended, competitive, enhanced, or market-leading” maternity, paternity, or parental leave.
Enhanced parental pay
The number of vacancies advertising an enhanced parental leave package has risen 1,316% since 2017, which, said Indeed, highlighted how there was growing employer support for helping to create stronger family lives.
While generous parental leave policies are generally viewed as an effective way of attracting and retaining female workers, fathers and secondary caregivers, taking parental leave also tips the balance of household tasks away from mothers who traditionally have performed these.
The research comes after the Office for National Statistics reported that 75.6% of mothers with dependent children were in work from April to June of 2021 – the highest level in 20 years.
Indeed’s analysis also showed an increasing number of companies taking a more inclusive approach to parental leave, with the number of job postings mentioning shared parental leave more than doubling (102% rise) in the last year, and rising by 279% since 2019.
Under the UK Government’s Shared Parental Leave and Pay plan, couples can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between them.
Three out of the top five most generous UK companies when it comes to parental leave are well known retailers, with Boots topping the list, DFS Furniture Stores coming in second and Sainsbury’s ranking fifth. However, there was a wide spread of firms offering enhanced benefits with firms from the healthcare (Circle), engineering (Jacobs), telecoms (Vodafone) and energy sectors (SSE) all represented in the top 10.
The Ministry of Defence was the highest ranked public sector employer in terms its parental leave policy of offering 100% of salary during the first 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave.
Jemima Olchawski, CEO at the gender equality and women’s rights charity Fawcett Society, said it was “encouraging to see many large employers offering enhanced parental leave schemes to support women but also to shift expectations and encourage men to take up parental leave. This will not only have a positive impact on gender equality and pay equity at work, but also supporting equality at home and in childcare too.”