Businesses called on to look at maternity pay policies and working models
The 2022 Parental Leave Study, conducted by Fertility Family, has found that one in five women are delaying having children due to work. The new study also revealed that half of new mothers need flexible working hours compared to less than two in five fathers. The belief is that flexible working hours would combat the increasing cost of childcare.
The study demonstrated that mothers struggle to balance work and family life after maternity leave. Twenty-four percent agree that maternity leave should last longer. And
As inflation hits new highs of 6.2%, 27% of women believe that maternity pay should be higher. In comparison, 15% of men want higher paternity pay.
The survey of employees at 116 UK companies also found that only 11% of mothers are happy with the parental leave policies at their companies and their company’s support of new parents.
The study also revealed that 21% of women would appreciate longer paid paternity leave for fathers. Fifteen percent of men feel the same. When asked whether working from home was a policy that new parents would appreciate, 46% of men and 44% of women agreed that it would.
With flexible working hours (45%) and remote working (45%) being the most popular wishes from both males and females, companies are called on to embrace employee-focused working models and increased maternity and paternity pay rates.
Gill McAteer, Director of Employment Law at Citation, commented: “Those who feel supported by their employers, and are clear about what their entitlements are, will feel much more comfortable making plans to start a family. Employees who are unsure of their workplace’s policy can often feel disengaged and stressed, which may lead to them putting off plans to have children as they feel like they are not ready.”
“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.”
Lucinda Quigley, Head of Working Parents at Talking Talent, says: “The pandemic has led many people to re-examine their careers, futures and the way they want to work. Any companies not offering the right support and company culture could find their high-talent individuals eschew them in favour of more forward-thinking firms – which will be disastrous for long-term company success.”
“Now is the time for bold and honest conversations. Businesses must be ready to listen and create real change, especially given that the pandemic has transformed people’s thinking about the companies they work for, whilst also shifting family priorities.”