November 24, 2021

New research reveals nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of working parents and parents-to-be would switch jobs because of poor maternity or paternity leave, with one in seven (14 percent) having done this before.

The research by Virgin Money finds that the vast majority of working and expectant parents (92 percent) think the parental leave on offer is important when either choosing to remain with a company or find a new one. This is especially important for businesses at a time when many are finding it difficult to retain or recruit talent.

One in 10 (10 percent) working parents are unhappy with the maternity or paternity leave they have previously received. Of those, over a third (36 percent) said this negative feeling led them to be less motivated to do a good job when they returned to work. Not being paid enough during parental leave (58 percent) and not being given enough time off (51 percent) also influenced many people’s feelings towards parental leave.

It isn’t just the amount of time away from work parents found challenging. Over half (58 percent) feared missing out on promotions or opportunities while on maternity or paternity leave, while others (52 percent) reported that they were even afraid of losing their job.

Nearly one in three (29 percent) working parents and expectant parents think statutory maternity/paternity leave in the UK is outdated, with more than a quarter (28 percent) believing it doesn’t support fathers enough to take on the care role and a further 26 percent thinking it is behind other countries.

Anna Williamson, parenting expert, and author, told Get-Optimal: “It is clear [...] that most working parents and those about to embark on the journey feel that existing policies and initiatives are out of date. Providing equal family leave to all should be something every company that is serious about supporting its employees should embrace." 

It’s not just parental leave that is important to parents. Employees also expect their company to offer 30 days annual leave (55 percent), wellbeing days (39 percent), private medical insurance (31 percent) and the opportunity to work remotely abroad each year (28 percent).

David Duffy, CEO of Virgin Money, added: “The pandemic has permanently changed our approach to working life. It’s clear to us that by taking a purpose-driven approach to how we work, we can help colleagues achieve a work-life balance that brings out their best. [...] This includes equal parental leave, generous holidays with additional wellbeing days, and flexibility on where people work.”


*Picture courtesy of Jimmy Dean