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.