New study reveals how businesses measure up

The 2023 parental leave and family support benchmark flags what policies and benefits will help companies win a competitive edge in recruitment and retention.

2023 parental leave and family support benchmark


This year’s Bright Horizons’ Parental Leave and Family Support Benchmark reveals that top employers are broadening their family leave policies to increase inclusivity and support for working families. The research covers three key employee life stages, the parent transition, ongoing parenting and carers.

Surveying over 500 UK organisations, key findings include:

Over 60% of employers provide enhanced maternity (72%) and paternity (64%) pay above statutory. 56% reported a level of inclusive family leave, whatever the role in parenting, including fathers. For 57% of businesses, attracting and retaining talent is the key driver for decisions about parental leave policies, followed by inclusivity for working fathers (43%). The number of employers providing at least 26 weeks enhanced parental leave has increased by 13% since 2021.

Jennifer Liston-Smith, Head of Thought Leadership at Bright Horizons, said, “Whilst these findings are promising, the models of best practice we’ve drawn up based on the results show 60% of employers only cover the basic requirements when it comes to parental leave. It’s important to note more can be done to support employees and the trailblazing options are there to see in the results.

“Businesses who are leading in this field are providing at least 26 weeks’ fully paid parental leave, access to medical advice and a coach or guide to support areas of growth. And for the 15% who have the competitive edge in the market, they offer employees access to Back Up Care (or care gap cover) and local childcare support.”

Providing gender and family-role-inclusive leave, and support for phased returns, particularly using accrued holidays has become more commonplace. However, the findings reveal that only 15% of employers are going further and promoting provisions such as Back Up Care and advice on childcare to new parents, even though 30% of employers offer back-up care for ongoing parents.

View the full report here.

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