- A survey of workers at 116 U.K. companies by fertility care company Fertility Family revealed 1 in 10 employees said they felt that management restricted their career progression after they took parental leave, and 1 in 6 parents felt their managers reduced their career opportunities after they merely expressed plans to take parental leave.
- Workers also expressed dissatisfaction with the leave policy itself. Nearly 60% of employees said their company's "maternity/paternity leave policy and attitude to new parents" was not adequate.
- The survey found parental leave policy plays a big role in recruiting; 1 in 20 candidates said they declined a job offer, or declined to apply for a job, due to the parental leave policy.
The Fertility Family survey illustrates that parental leave can be a strong recruiting tool; it also can be an important strategy for retention, HR Dive previously reported.
The study also examined other benefits that could aid working parents. Nearly half (45%) of respondents said flex hours and remote work could assist employees returning to work. Almost a quarter (22%) of employees said they want to see parental pay rates increased, to "make it financially viable for their employees to take parental leave."
Employers might consider 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," Gill McAteer, director of employment law at HR support company Citation, advised in a release from Fertility Family.
For some employers, the tight labor market has prompted new interest and action concerning paid leave, and other aspects of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Lucinda Quigley, head of working parents at Talking Talent, urged employers to take a decisive position on parental leave in Fertility Family's release. "The pandemic has led many people to re-examine their careers, futures and the way they want to work," she said. "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."