Ask Your Boss

woman laptop

As part of our Publish Parental Leave campaign, we want Mumsnet users to ask their bosses/management whether they publish their parental leave policies for all to see – and if they don’t, we’d like you to ask whether they’d consider it

We've launched our Publish Parental Leave campaign as a way to help close the gender pay gap, give prospective parents the information they need to plan for children, and encourage a race to the top among big organisations. You can find out more about the campaign and the reasons behind it here.

When I'm choosing a new job, I look at salary, promotion prospects, prospective bonus, annual leave etc. Why shouldn't I also factor in sick pay, parental leave and maternity pay?

We're asking campaign supporters to talk to their own employers – maybe the CEO, the Chair, or the head of HR – about whether they publish details about their parental leave policies (at minimum, the number of weeks of leave people can expect, and at what proportion of their usual salary). Ideally we'd like organisations to do this for maternity leave, paternity leave and adoptive leave.

We recognise that this ask will be most applicable to bigger organisations – those with 250+ employees. If you work for one of those we would LOVE you to pop the question. (If you work for a smaller organisation we’d still love you to ask, but we realise that if it’s a two-woman start-up, the chances are everyone has quite a lot on their plate already.)

Failure to publish is indirect discrimination against women

Of course, some of you are yourselves the boss. In which case, please take yourself into a corner office and have a word with yourself, agree to publish and then slap yourself on the back. (Maybe draw the blinds first.)

Please email us on campaigns@mumsnet.com to tell us which organisation you’ve spoken to and what the response was. We promise we won’t share your email address or name unless you’ve given us express permission.

So, to upsum:

  • Please ask your employer whether they publicly publish their parental leave policies
  • If they don’t, please ask them if they’ll consider doing so. (You can find all the reasons why they should here, and you can see a list of FTSE100 companies who already do here, plus a further list of more FTSE100 companies who’ve promised to start doing it here.)
  • Please say here (if you want to) or email us on campaigns@mumsnet.com to tell us which company you asked, and what the response was
  • Cake!

We’ve put together a draft email for you (below) if you’d like to use it.

Template email

Dear [boss/Head of HR]

I wanted to ask whether we publicly publish our parental leave policies anywhere – and if we don’t, whether you would consider doing so.

As you probably know, starting a family is expensive and it really helps people to be able to plan how much they will need to save, how much time they will have off, how they might be able to split paid leave with their spouse or partner, and how much childcare they will need to pay for.

Mumsnet is campaigning for organisations to publish how many weeks of leave people are entitled to, and at what level it is paid.

Being able to find this information on company websites means that job-seekers don’t have to ask at interview – which, understandably, they are very reluctant to do because they fear it would make a job offer less likely. You can see Mumsnet’s figures on this here.

Pregnancy and maternity discrimination hits women very hard, so understandably they’re reluctant to ask potential employers for information that gives away the fact they want to start a family. This means they are flying blind in this important respect when applying for new positions, and aren’t able to gauge how far employers genuinely welcome parents on staff.

We would be in good company if we do this: more than one-quarter of the FTSE100 already do, and a further 19 FTSE100 companies have committed to publishing or considering publishing their parental leave policies.

I’d love to see [our company] take this step. It’s an easy, cost-free change that demonstrates commitment to equality and diversity, and it could make a real difference.

Yours etc,
[Ms/Mr Mumsnetter]

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