Number of companies offering extended parental leave rises

Mental Health

New data has found that the number of jobs offering generous and extended parental leave has increased by 201% in the past three years

Parental leave has the ability to unlock the workplace for women, boost equality at home, and fester stronger, happier family bonds. And while companies have a legal obligation to provide their employees with paid leave, job seekers are increasingly looking for organisations that go above and beyond – and now, new data shows that companies are taking note.

The number of jobs offering ‘generous’ or extended parental leave has risen by 201%, according to research by job site Indeed. By analysing the postings on its platform, the organisations saw that the number of vacancies that were advertising enhanced parental leave packages is now three times higher than it was in 2018.

In the UK, statutory maternity leave is up to 52 weeks, with statutory pay covering the first 39 weeks – and statutory paternity leave is just two weeks.

Since the start of the pandemic, paternity leave, in particular, has come under scrutiny, as findings from the Institute for Fiscal Studies reported that fathers have doubled the time they spent with their children. Additionally, models from across Europe – such as in Sweden, where men can take 60 days paternity leave at 80% salary, and in Spain where they can take 12 weeks fully paid – set the bar for a more progressive approach to parental leave.

Becoming a parent for the first time, or growing your family, is an exciting and precious time,” says Paul Wolfe, senior vice president of Indeed. “But it’s also the hardest job going. New parents often need to adapt to a whirlwind of change and emotions, which is why the best parental leave programs are designed to give families the support they need during those important first months of parenthood.

“It’s encouraging to see a growing number of companies, in a wide variety of sectors, go above and beyond to give their employees enhanced parental leave but employers must also remember that parenting does not stop once their employee returns from leave.”

In addition to noting a rise in extended parental leave packages, the research from Indeed also highlighted the top ‘parent-friendly employers’, including BMI Healthcare, which offers up to 52 weeks maternity and adoption leave paid in full for the first 13 weeks. Vodafone offers 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave, and the Ministry of Deference offer 26 of ordinary maternity leave fully paid. Indeed itself also offer 26 weeks fully paid, as well as six weeks paid time off for father and secondary caregivers.

“Paid leave programmes help improve a person’s wellbeing and when an employee is happy and feels appreciated it has a positive knock-on effect on their productivity and loyalty,” says Paul Wolfe.

“For employers, it’s important that programs are inclusive and to understand that there are many different types of families in your workplace when ensuring whoever is the primary caregiver has time with their newborn.”

With the benefits clear to see – both for individuals and their families, and for organisations – a more open and compassionate approach to family life could be on the horizon.


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