The best companies for maternity and paternity pay, revealed

Just three out of 200 firms offer the same amount of leave to both parents

Sarah Jones
Tuesday 04 June 2019 14:41 BST
MP Bim Afolami to become first father in British parliamentary history to vote by proxy while on paternity leave

The top companies for maternity and paternity leave in the UK have been revealed.

A new study, which looked into the parental leave policies of 200 large companies, has found that just three firms offer the same amount of time off to both parents.

The research from Equileap – a company that provides data on gender equality – named drinks giant Diageo, which owns Smirnoff, Baileys and Guinness, insurance firm Aviva and finance company Investec as the best for giving their staff equal parental leave.

While the best companies were found to offer 26 weeks' full pay for both primary and secondary carers, the data also suggested that an increasing number of workers avoid speaking to their employers about the topic.

Researchers found that four out of five parents were reluctant to discuss maternity and paternity leave policies with the company they work for.

According to Diana van Maasdijk, chief executive at Equileap, it is this lack of transparency from employers that causes the so-called “motherhood penalty” – maternity discrimination which sees women who have had children by the age of 33 earning 15 per cent less than their peers who remained childless.

“Sadly, not many companies are offering equal opportunities for men and women when it comes to maternity and paternity leave, with most offering just a couple of weeks to men,” van Maasdijk said.

”A strong paternity package is essential to create equality in the workplace. At the moment, it is nearly always the responsibility of a woman to take time out of their career for children whether they want to or not.”

Van Maasdijk added that “in an ideal world” every employer would publish their parental leave policies both internally and externally.

“Sadly, no-one is going to broach this subject at an interview and so many people are forced to dig around in secondary sources to find out if the business offers a competitive package,” Van Maasdijk explained.

The findings follow a 2018 study which found that an increasing number of fathers crave further access to paternity leave.

Called “Helping Dads Care”, the report from Dove Men+Care and Promundo – an organisation that promotes gender equality – revealed that a growing number of men would like to be more involved in the early weeks and months after the birth of their child.

Despite this, the findings also found that many men fail to take paternity leave even when it is offered, with 38 per cent admitting to taking no time off following the birth of their child.

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It suggested that this was largely because of negative perceptions in the workplace, with more than one in five fathers (22 per cent) stating they were afraid of losing their job if they took the full amount of paternity leave offered.

You can find out more about paternity leave, including who is entitled to how long you’re allowed to take, here.

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