57% say enhanced parental and adoption leave and pay is most valued by workforces

most valued family-friendly benefitEmployee Benefits poll: More than half (57%) of organisations revealed that enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay is the most valued family-friendly benefit by their workforces, according to a survey of Employee Benefits readers.

One-third (33%) of respondents said that their workforces most value flexible working as a family-friendly benefit, with 6% answering emergency childcare and 4% saying workplace nursery scheme.

As of this month, several new family-friendly regulations, including the right to request flexible working from day one of employment, carer’s leave and extended redundancy protections for new parents, have come into effect in England, Scotland and Wales.

The regulations include The Flexible Working (Amendment) Regulations 2023, which remove the requirement for an employee to have 26 weeks’ service before they can make a formal flexible working request; The Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024, which extend the period of special protection from redundancy for employees who are on maternity leave, adoption leave or shared parental leave; and The Carer’s Leave Act 2023 (Commencement) Regulations 2023, which applies across the UK.

The period protected from redundancy for those on maternity leave will include the entire pregnancy, as well as 18 months from the first day of the estimated week of childbirth. Adoptive parents will be protected from 18 months from placement for adoption, and for shared parental leave the protected period will be 18 months from birth, provided the parent has taken at least six consecutive weeks of shared parental leave.

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In addition, employees who are unpaid carers for a relative or friend will receive up to five days’ unpaid leave each year.

Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Our most recent research with carers builds on our strong evidence base to show that this will make a significant difference to their lives, helping with some of the stresses which come when juggling work and care. I urge employers to get in touch and work with us to make the most of this new legislation, which is good for employers and good for employees alike.”