Just three firms offer equal maternity and paternity packages

New survey is accompanied by call to beef up pay and leave for dads

equality for working parents


A new survey of paternity and maternity packages offered by big companies has found just three offering the same to mums and dads.

Investec, Diageo and Aviva head up a league table of the biggest firms offering the best maternity and paternity leave and pay.

The research was carried out by gender equality experts Equileap.

Diageo only altered their allowance earlier this year while Aviva have been a leader in this area.

All three companies offer both carers the same 26 weeks off at full pay to care for their child.

But there’s a huge drop off in the paternity offer after that. Fourth in the table is the Royal Mail that gives mums 26 weeks fully funded but dads just two weeks.

By the time you get to 10th in the table the offer is just one week of fully paid paternity leave to 18 weeks for mothers at mining giant Rio Tinto.

The government stipulates that employers must pay new mothers (primary carers) a minimum of 90 per cent of their weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks followed by a payment of £148.68 per week for the remaining 33 weeks. Unfortunately this is below the median weekly salary of £569 which creates more pressure for new mums to return to work if they don’t have a competitive employer package.

Equal opportunities

The survey also found that many companies don’t make details of their maternity and paternity pay publicly available. The government is consulting on new laws to force big firms to publish their policies so potential employees can see them before deciding who they want to work for.

Diana van Maasdijk, CEO at Equileap, commented, “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.

“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. Surely men have just as much right to balance their personal and professional life?

“In an ideal world, every employer would publish this information both internally and externally, leaving no mystery around company policies,” Diana adds. “This empowers those who are looking to expand their family and allows them to factor this into their job search. 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. The government has been pushing companies with more than 250 employees to make this information publicly available in the same way they do with gender pay, I look forward to seeing this come to fruition.”

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