Jennifer Liston-Smith is a consultant, trainer and coach with major organisations and since 2005 has been one the UK pioneers of maternity coaching supporting leading employers in settings such as global law firms, investment banks, accountancy firms and other sectors. Her work is covered in the national and industry press as well as frequent conference speaking and writing. She is the mother of two boys aged ten and seven and understands the challenges of a senior role combined with family life.
Research into Maternity and Paternity benefits undertaken by My Family Care, the company that provides comprehensive work and family solutions to employers and employees, has revealed that businesses in the UK vary wildly when it comes to length and level of pay.
My Family Care research: Maternity and paternity benefits – not often discussed in public
Our research is very interesting for companies who want to know how competitive their current offering is. It is not a topic that is often discussed in public, and clients are often at a loss to know whether their market-leading provisions are still market-leading year on year.
So, now businesses can see where they can shout about their unique benefits, or where they might even be able to afford to trim their offering and spend funds on other resources and benefits for maternity returners rather than purely on pay.
[Legal and banking industries] have a reputation for having an unfriendly work-life culture and they are aware that one of the leaks in their female talent pipeline is around the maternity transition So it’s easy to understand why they would offer generous maternity packages, such as bonuses after four months of returning to work.
In our experience, those who lead the field also focus on ensuring systems are in place to smooth the transition too, with managers being aware and equipped for good conversations and individuals having the skills to manage smart ways of working for themselves.
Businesses still need to hold expenditure back but companies who invest retain talent
Another striking find on the pay side is the fact that one in four companies offer only Statutory Maternity Pay [SMP is 90% of their salary for six weeks, followed by 33 weeks at £138] – a sign of the times as businesses still need to hold expenditure back. However, it’s the companies who invest in their family-friendly working practices that are able to retain and nurture talent over time.
The survey involved senior HR representatives from 100 companies across an array of industries. Summary findings are:
- Wide variations in pay and benefits, with the duration of enhanced pay ranging from 3 to 52 weeks
- Almost 25% of companies only offer Statutory Maternity Pay
- All companies with over 5,000 employees that responded claimed to provide enhanced maternity pay, with the majority of these offering enhanced paternity pay as well.
Employers can now visit the My Family Care website and download the full Maternity and Paternity Benchmark Results to see how they compare.