UK employers may be required to publish parental leave and pay policies UK employers may be required to publish parental leave and pay policies

UK employers may be required to publish parental leave and pay policies
12 Jun 2018

Large UK employers could be required to publish their parental leave and pay policies in an attempt to combat maternity discrimination.

A new private members’ Bill that is due to be heard later this week could force companies with 250 or more staff to reveal their arrangements for shared parental leave, maternity and paternity pay.

Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats and the Bill’s sponsor, told People Management: "A headline figure of 54,000 women in Britain are forced out of their jobs every year as a result of pregnancy discrimination and, when I was introducing shared parental leave as a minister, I was really struck by research, in which one of the barriers men cited over how comfortable they were about taking shared parental leave, was a concern about how it would impact on their career."

Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, described the proposal as an “encouraging move”.

"Increased transparency about parental leave policies shines a spotlight on an organisation’s offering and could help break the taboo of employees asking about their entitlements, which many are often reluctant to do," she said. 

But Julia Waltham, head of policy and campaigns at Working Families, stressed that good parental leave policies did not guarantee gender equality and work-life balance.

"While an organisation might have fantastic parental leave policies in place, translating them into a better lived experience for working parents on an ongoing basis is the real challenge for employers, large and small," she said. "This, of course, is more difficult to measure."

Statutory maternity pay currently entitles women to 90% of their regular pay for the first six weeks of maternity leave and £145.18 (US$194) per week for a further 33 weeks.

Meanwhile, the adoption of shared parental leave has experienced a slow start since being introduced in April 2015, with only 7,100 men receiving shared parental pay in the 2016-17 tax year, compared with 221,000 who received statutory paternity pay in the same period.

But Swinson said: "The bill can help because, like gender pay, it forces employers to have a transparent conversation, and include what men as well as women might consider for their careers at the stage where they have a family or a child.”

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Large UK employers could be required to publish their parental leave and pay policies in an attempt to combat maternity discrimination.

A new private members’ Bill that is due to be heard later this week could force companies with 250 or more staff to reveal their arrangements for shared parental leave, maternity and paternity pay.

Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats and the Bill’s sponsor, told People Management: "A headline figure of 54,000 women in Britain are forced out of their jobs every year as a result of pregnancy discrimination and, when I was introducing shared parental leave as a minister, I was really struck by research, in which one of the barriers men cited over how comfortable they were about taking shared parental leave, was a concern about how it would impact on their career."

Jill Miller, diversity and inclusion adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, described the proposal as an “encouraging move”.

"Increased transparency about parental leave policies shines a spotlight on an organisation’s offering and could help break the taboo of employees asking about their entitlements, which many are often reluctant to do," she said. 

But Julia Waltham, head of policy and campaigns at Working Families, stressed that good parental leave policies did not guarantee gender equality and work-life balance.

"While an organisation might have fantastic parental leave policies in place, translating them into a better lived experience for working parents on an ongoing basis is the real challenge for employers, large and small," she said. "This, of course, is more difficult to measure."

Statutory maternity pay currently entitles women to 90% of their regular pay for the first six weeks of maternity leave and £145.18 (US$194) per week for a further 33 weeks.

Meanwhile, the adoption of shared parental leave has experienced a slow start since being introduced in April 2015, with only 7,100 men receiving shared parental pay in the 2016-17 tax year, compared with 221,000 who received statutory paternity pay in the same period.

But Swinson said: "The bill can help because, like gender pay, it forces employers to have a transparent conversation, and include what men as well as women might consider for their careers at the stage where they have a family or a child.”

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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