One in five young workers quit over parental leave

A new study shows how younger workers are looking at employers’ parental leave policies and voting with their feet, before they start a family and even if they are not planning to have children themselves.

Dad holding child's foot

 

Younger workers are more likely than average to think good parental leave policies are a useful indication that an organisation is a good employer, even if they are not planning to have children, according to a survey.

The findings are part of a study – ‘Lost Connections: Supporting parents and caregivers in the workplace’commissioned by Vodafone, show one in five (18%) 18–34-year-olds has quit their job due to poor parental leave policies, with a further 25% of younger workers saying they decided not to apply for a job because they thought the employer’s parental leave policies were inadequate.

The research, which includes an Opinium poll of over 2,000 adults, highlights the increasing importance of good parental leave policies for younger workers even before having children.

Key findings:

  • More than a third (37%) of people, and more than half (55%) of 18–34-year-olds, would be more likely to apply for a job if they knew the employer had good parental leave policies.  
  • More than one in 10 people (12%), and one-in-four 18–34-year-olds (25%), have decided not to apply for a job because they thought the employer’s parental leave policies were inadequate.
  • More than half (52%) of people, including two-thirds (64%) of those aged 18-34, agree that parental leave policies are a useful indication of whether an organisation is a good employer, even if they are not planning to have a baby themselves. 
  • Around one in 10 people (9%) have turned down a job offer because they thought the employer’s parental leave policies were inadequate. This doubles to more than one in five (21%) 18–34 year-olds.

The report makes recommendations for both the Government and employers on how to provide greater support for new parents and caregivers in the workplace. This includes advice on flexible working practices where possible, reviewing the effectiveness of shared parental leave, considering whether the statutory right to take up to two weeks of paternity leave is still fit for purpose and providing the digital tools for employers to support flexible working. 

Clare Corkish, HR Director, Vodafone UK, which is calling for employers to boost their policies and be more transparent about them, said: “Employers have everything to gain from giving their employees the right support when they become parents. Improving parental leave is the right thing to do and it makes good business sense. Prospective employees look closely at how employers treat new parents, and they act on what they see.

“If employers want to attract the best talent, they need to create a great place to work and robust parental leave policies are one of the best ways of showing this.” 

Meanwhile, Government figures show the impact of Omicron on nurseries in January. For the week beginning 17th January an estimated 93% of early years settings were fully open, with a further 5% partially open. On 12th January 13% of paid staff in open group- or school-based settings were absent from work due to Covid-19-related reasons and 85% of children booked into a place attended a setting.

Neil Leitch, CEO of the Early Years Alliance, said even slight fluctuations can have a significant impact due to staff:child ratios and called for the tightening self-isolation rules for under-fives to reduce the risk of preventable outbreaks in early years settings and for more attention to be paid to long-term staffing issues in early years settings.



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