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Mumsnet calls on government to force big employers to publish their parental leave policies

Following a survey in which a massive 82% of parents and prospective parents say they are reluctant to ask potential employers about parental leave policies, we’re calling on the government to add them to gender pay gap reports

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated May 28, 2021

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Have you ever looked at a job description, or been to a job interview, and wondered what the employers’ maternity, paternity or adoptive leave policies might be – but been too afraid to ask?

It’s a common experience, according to a survey of parents and prospective parents we conducted in February 2019. 84% of respondents said employers’ parental leave policies are very or somewhat important for them when applying for or considering applying for a job, but 82% say they are reluctant to ask about these policies for fear it will make a job offer less likely.

Parental leave and pay policies aren’t perks, on a par with gym memberships; they’re absolutely critical pieces of information that allow people to plan their futures. Yet two-thirds say they’ve avoided asking about parental leave policies at interview stage for fear it would give a negative impression, and the same number say that at least once they’ve found it difficult or impossible to find information on an employer's policy when applying for a job.

In 2018, Lib Dem Deputy Leader Jo Swinson tabled a bill in parliament asking the government to require employers of 250+ people to publish their parental leave and pay policies for all to see. We think they could easily be added to gender pay gap reporting. It’s a small, cost-free change that could be a powerful incentive for employers to develop better policies – as well as a great way of celebrating those who do. In our survey, 91% of respondents supported the proposal.