57% of staff find employer’s parental leave policy inadequate

parental leaveAlmost three in five (57%) employees said that they think their employer’s parental leave policy and attitude to new parents is inadequate, according to new research.

The 2022 Parental leave study was conducted by Fertility Family, which surveyed employees at 116 UK businesses to find out whether men and women felt parental leave was sufficient and whether it impacted family life, planning and careers.

Almost six in 10 (59%) of male employees found their organisation’s paternity leave insufficient, while 55% of females said the same about maternity leave.

One in six felt their career opportunities were constrained after they had communicated their plan to take parental leave, and 66% felt they were restricted prior to taking the leave rather than afterwards.

Meanwhile, nearly one in 10 (9%) thought that management restricted their career progression after their parental leave, which was experienced equally by both men and women, and one in 20 have turned down a job or not applied for a job directly because of the parental leave policy.

In addition, 50% of women and 39% of men wanted their employer to promote flexible working hours after returning from parental leave, and 44% of women and 46% of men said they would like remote working to be introduced upon their return.

Furthermore, 27% of females and 15% of males wanted their employer to increase their rates of maternity and paternity pay.

Commenting on the findings, Gill McAteer, director of employment law at Citation, said that employees who are unsure of their workplace’s policy can often feel disengaged and stressed.

“Parental leave policies should be clear on employee entitlements and be available to everyone, with the aim of creating a supportive working environment. For employers looking to enhance their policies, they may consider adopting a family-friendly approach, with flexible or hybrid working, which would be well received by many of those who have families or are planning to do so,” McAteer said.