The government has announced that it will consult on requiring employers with more than 250 staff to publish their parental leave and pay policies, so job applicants can make informed decisions about whether they can combine the role with caring for their family.
While many employers are more generous than the legal minimum required for parental leave and pay, very few publish their policies openly. Job applicants must therefore ask prospective employers what the position is and, many may be reluctant to do so for fear of discrimination.
In advance of any changes to the law, ten large employers have recently announced that they will publish their policies voluntarily. The companies are: Accenture, Addleshaw Goddard, Deloitte, Direct Line Group, EY, KPMG, Linklaters, PwC, RBS, Santander.
Poor take up of the relatively new statutory right to shared parental leave and pay has been linked to the fact that statutory pay is an unattractive option for many fathers, as they are often the higher earning partner in a couple. While many employers offer enhanced maternity pay to women, this is not extended to father taking shared parental leave (and currently this is not considered discrimination). Consequently, women remain the main carers for children and this extends their time away from work and contributes substantially to the gender pay gap.
Clearly the government is hoping that greater transparency will empower employees to make choices about whom they work for and that labour market forces will drive change and persuade employers to offer more equal, enhanced parental benefits.