The Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson has tabled a bill in the House of Commons that would require firms with more than 250 employees to publish their parental leave policies.
She said the policy would improve transparency, encourage more competition on parental leave pay and help firms “better attract and retain talent”.
Parents currently have to research parental leave policies themselves or ask about them at interview. Research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission shows high levels of pregnancy and maternity discrimination, including employers not hiring women because they think they might get pregnant.
Swinson, who was behind the gender pay audit legislation, said: “The problem is that currently the onus is on the job applicant to ask about these policies, but the very act of asking the question suggests to the employer that the candidate may be considering having a child.”
The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development said publication would send a positive message to potential employees and could help tackle gender inequality at work.
Meanwhile, the Committee for Women and Equalities has published a short report, voicing concerns about the high turnover in the role of Minister for Women and Equalities [there have been four different Ministers based in three different departments in the last two years], the Government’s commitment to achieving equality and the Government Equalities Office’s place in government.