Businesses to publish parental pay and leave policies

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Ten major firms have agreed to publish their parental leave and pay policies online in a move to become more transparent to working parents

This means that candidates will no longer have to ask about parental leave and pay when interviewing at firms. The 10 companies committing to the move are Accenture, Addleshaw Goddard, Deloitte, Direct Line Group, EY, KPMG, Linklaters, PwC, RBS, and Santander.

This move has been driven by MP Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, who wants organisations with more than 250 employees to be transparent about their parental leave policies.

"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," said Swinson. "It's an opportunity for businesses to sell themselves."

Nathan Bostock, CEO of Santander UK, one of the participating firms, said he hoped the move would help working parents make more informed decisions on joining the bank.

"I'm pleased to announce that Santander UK will publish its parental leave policies online. While we already make key details for parental leave publicly available we recognise the importance of expanding this information for prospective employees. We want to help people make an informed choice – without worrying about asking at interview," he said in a statement.

"Encouraging businesses to be transparent about their parental leave policies will help increase equality in the workplace and at home.”

Chloe Chambraud, gender equality director at Business in the Community (BITC), added that while the move could be daunting for some employers it is vital if they want to be seen as accessible workplaces.

“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 transparent about their parental leave and pay policies these organisations have demonstrated their commitment to tackling gender inequality. This policy will allow new and future parents to make more informed choices about who they work for, and also has the potential to reduce bias and discrimination," she said.

But employers must also focus on their culture, Chambraud added.

“Employers must create a culture where employees feel confident discussing their family responsibilities at work. Our recent Equal Lives Partnership with Santander UK showed that more than 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.”

CEO of Working Families, Jane van Zyl, welcomed the move by the ten organisations as a step towards building more family-friendly workplaces.

“Requiring employers to publish information about parental leave policies is an important step in creating workplaces that are more flexible and family-friendly. And we are especially proud that six of the ten major employers who have already agreed to publish their parental leave and pay policies are members of Working Families. This increase in transparency will support parents’ decision-making and help employers understand best practice. We also hope that this will ignite a ‘race to top’ among employers—particularly when it comes to going beyond minimum pay for parental leave, which demonstrably increases take-up, particularly among fathers," she told HR magazine.

“It is important to remember that parental leave policies alone are not wholly indicative of gender equality and work-life balance within a workplace. A genuinely family-friendly workplace culture is essential to unlocking parents’ potential and delivering benefits for business.

“We also can’t forget that parents who are workers or have been designated as self-employed do not have access to the full suite of parental rights around which Jo Swinson is campaigning for employer transparency. That’s why Working Families is calling for a level playing field on access to parental rights.”

This commitment from these firms comes as a new study from CIPHR finds that working parents are under significant pressure. Three-quarters (75%) said they suffered stress and anxiety from trying to maintain a work/life balance, and more than half (53%) felt judged for trying to juggle work with family commitments.

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