Over 60% of employers enhance maternity and/or paternity pay

A growing number of employers offer enhanced maternity or paternity pay, according to new research.


Almost two-thirds of organisations offer maternity pay that is more generous than the UK statutory requirements, according to a study by online HR resource XpertHR.

The study also found six in 10 (60.8%) offer enhanced paternity pay, while a quarter (25.1%) offer enhanced shared parental pay.

It shows there is considerable variation in how employers enhance maternity pay for their employees. The most common enhancement, provided by 42.4% of employers, is full pay for more than six weeks followed by the standard statutory maternity pay rate. Among these organisations around three in 10 offer full pay for three months, although one in five offers full pay for six months. More than a third of employers (37%) make enhanced maternity pay dependent on the employee returning to work following maternity leave.

Currently, statutory maternity pay in the UK is 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings for the first six weeks, and then the standard rate of £151.97 (or 90% of their average weekly earnings if less than this) for the next 33 weeks.

The research also found four in 10 organisations (45.9%) provide financial incentives or other benefits to assist an employee’s return from maternity leave, rising to 59.1% among those with 1,000 or more employees. These benefits include coaching or mentoring support for maternity returners and flexible working on either a temporary or a permanent basis.

Other family-friendly benefits on offer from organisations surveyed include: paid time off for partners to attend antenatal appointments, fertility/IVF leave, additional paid time off for appointments for adoption and enhanced parental bereavement pay.

However, 31.7% of organisations do not offer any enhanced maternity, paternity, or shared parental pay at all, with cost cited as the main reason for only paying the statutory rates.

Rachel Sharp, HR practice editor at XpertHR, said: “Well over half of organisations offer enhanced maternity pay. Employers that are willing to invest in all of their team, not just in terms of pay but also with family-friendly benefits, will also benefit in the long-term.

“Being able to provide support during this time highlights your commitment to these employees and can be a really strong way to attract and retain top talent and create a culture of inclusiveness across the business.”

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