Employers battle for talent as parental leave policies redefine the UK job market

26 November 2019 – Competition for the best employees is the principal driver of better parental leave policies at most UK companies, according to a landmark new survey.

Produced by Bright Horizons®, a leading provider of care, early education and family solutions, in partnership with HRreview, the survey benchmarks current parental leave policies in more than 400 UK-based companies.

54% of companies said that attracting and retaining talent was the most important consideration behind their parental leave policy – coming ahead of reasons such as closing the gender pay gap (25%) and supporting working fathers (27%). Companies appear to be grasping the business logic behind leave policies that attract and retain workers while improving the lives of working families.

The survey finds that more than three quarters (77%) of companies currently enhance maternity pay (including adoption and surrogacy) beyond the minimum required by law.

Meanwhile, fewer than half of respondents (43%) said that they offered a full two weeks’ paid paternity leave, and only 9% offer more than two weeks.

However, the survey reveals that employers are beginning to embrace Shared Parental Leave with 35% of employers having enhanced their Shared Parental Leave pay since 2015.

One leading employer for parental leave is Moneysupermarket Group who ranked #1 in Finance Technology and #5 overall. Moneysupermarket Group’s extensive benefits for working families include equal parental leave and enhanced maternity/adoption and paternity/partner leave, Work: Your Way flexible working programme and Parental Leave Toolkit, a digital app for expecting parents and managers.

Aneta Weedon, Head of Inclusion and Engagement at Moneysupermarket Group said,

“Moneysupermarket Group are delighted to achieve number five ranking - and number one ranking in fintech category - in the 2019 Parental Leave Benchmark. We care deeply about being an inclusive and welcoming place to work for parents, and have made a concerted effort to effect real cultural change. From enhancing and equalising parental leave policies, offering online coaching support for new parents and their line managers, and creating a parents’ network, significantly improving our gender pay gap, we work hard to normalise conversations about career and family. In addition, ‘Work:Your Way’, our approach to flexible working has been featured in Forbes as an example of innovative approach in financial services. However, we know we have more to do in this area and continue to focus on maintaining momentum towards positive progress.”

James Tugendhat, Managing Director International, Bright Horizons, said:

“As the global race for talent heats up, it’s clear that the need for family-friendly and effective parental leave policies is more important than ever. Measures such as Shared Parental Leave, flexible working and the provision of dependant care services are not only the right thing to do but bring return on investment in terms of attracting, retaining and engaging the very best talent.

“However, policy alone is only the starting point. If we are to effect real cultural change, the senior leadership of an organisation must also support policies through their actions and become role models for others. We need the topic of combining work and family to be discussed openly and normalised in the workplace, paving the way for everyone – mothers, fathers, grandparents and carers – to grow and thrive both at home and at work.”

Notes to Editors:

To read the full report, Parental Leave Policy & Reward Benchmark 2019, please click here. To read the Technology Sector report, please click here.

About Bright Horizons

Bright Horizons® is the UK’s leading provider of early years care and education, with over 300 nurseries in the UK. We care for over 25,000 children each week and have over 350 corporate clients for whom we manage workplace nurseries and broader depandant care services.

We believe that by being an employer of choice, we are a natural partner of choice for our clients, and we have been recognised as one of the Best UK Workplaces since 2006 and achieved a Gold Award from RoSPA every year since 2011.


For more information, or interview requests, please contact:

stephanie.kowalewicz@brighthorizons.com 07710 086 178