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One in five younger UK workers have quit their job due to poor parental leave support

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 findings are part of a study – ‘Lost Connections: Supporting parents and caregivers in the workplace’ – commissioned by Vodafone, which argues that employers should be transparent about the benefits they offer to new and expectant parents and caregivers to ensure they attract and retain the top talent.

The research, which includes an Opinium poll of over 2,000 adults, highlights the growing importance of strong parental leave policies among the British public, and especially those aged 18-34. This is particularly important as it shows that people place importance on an organisation having good parental leave policies even before having children, as the average age for non-birthing parents is 34.

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.

These findings clearly demonstrate the value of employers offering enhanced parental leave policies, and the positive impact this could have on attracting and retaining young talent and creating a better working environment for all employees.

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.

Vodafone’s Global Parental Leave Policy offers 16 weeks of fully paid leave to all non-birthing parents, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or length of service, allowing for more equitable caring responsibilities and minimising the impact on the careers of new parents.

This is in addition to Vodafone’s Global Maternity Leave Policy that offers women across all markets and operations up to 26 weeks’ full pay during maternity leave and the opportunity to work 80% of hours for full pay for the first six months after their return to work.

Clare Corkish, HR Director, Vodafone UK 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.”

Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, offered: “The challenge of combining work and parenting is not a new one, but the findings of this survey are really stark. We have to do better in supporting new parents in the workplace, to make sure they can progress with their careers as well as being brilliant parents.

“I am pleased to see a leading company like Vodafone really embracing the challenge and working out how it can support its staff better.”