Ten major employers have agreed to publish their parental leave and pay policies online.
Parental leave and pay
The companies are backed by MP Jo Swinson, who tabled a bill earlier this year requiring large businesses to publicise what they offer parents in terms of leave and pay.
Former employment relations minister Swinson wants all companies with more than 250 employees to make this information more transparent, citing research that suggests 54,000 women a year lose their jobs because of pregnancy or maternity discrimination.
She said the information could be published alongside gender pay gap data each year, and it would mean candidates avoid having to ask about policies at job interviews.
“Companies all have to have a parental pay and leave policy, even if it’s as simple as statutory, but there are many offering more. It’s an opportunity for businesses to sell themselves,” she said.
“I think this would lead to more questions being asked in board rooms and in local cafes about who has the better policy and that itself will drive progress.”
The 10 companies are:
- Addleshaw Goddard
- Direct Line Group
Publicising policies would enable employees to compare their own organisation’s policy with what others offered and help them to lobby for improvements, claimed Swinson.
Jessica Chu, head of inclusion at Santander, said that advertising policies “really lets potential employees choose who they want to work with and see the benefits that are on offer for them”.
Research by University College London this summer revealed that the coalition’s flagship family-friendly policy, shared parental leave, was failing as too many new parents felt it didn’t work for them financially. The government called for employers to make their shared parental leave policies more public after take-up had been low.
Earlier this month, the government pledged to publish the parental leave and pay policies of all its departments, after an analysis found that only four out of 25 ministerial departments published their paternity, maternity, shared parental and adoption leave arrangements on the careers sections of their websites.
Chloe Chambraud, gender equality director at Business in the Community, said that publicising policies would enable parents to make “informed choices” about who they work for.
She said: “Publishing parental leave and pay policies can be a daunting step for employers, but it is vital in order to position themselves as an employer of choice. By being open and transparent about their parental leave and pay policies, these organisations have demonstrated their commitment to tackling gender inequality.
“However, employers must also create a culture where employees feel confident discussing their family responsibilities at work. Our recent Equal Lives research, in partnership with Santander UK, showed that over half of men wanted to be more involved in caring, but only 37% had discussed their caring responsibilities with their line managers.
“Businesses therefore have a key role to play in ensuring all their employees – male and female – are informed about the opportunities available to them and receive the support they need to successfully balance their careers with caring responsibilities.”