New research finds that employers are three times more likely to offer extended parental leave than three years ago.

The number of jobs offering extended parental leave has risen by 201 per cent in the past three years, according to new research by Indeed.

Legally, Statutory Maternity Leave covers up to 52 weeks, with employees having to take a minimum of 2 weeks off from work following the birth. Employees are paid for up to 39 weeks, at 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings for the first six weeks.

Paternity leave spans up to two weeks and workers receive either £151.97, or 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings (whichever is lower).

However, the research finds an an ever-increasing number of job descriptions mention staff benefits that are exceeding the statutory minimum.

In the past, shared parental leave has been called “deeply flawed and chronically failing” with under 10 per cent of employees opting to take this leave.

However, since 2018, job vacancies which mentioned shared parental leave have risen by 206 per cent.

In addition, various companies such as Boots, BMI Healthcare and Vodafone have offered their staff enhanced leave packages.

Boots, which was ranked first by Indeed for having the most job postings mentioning generous parental leave, was found to offer enhanced maternity pay for staff.

BMI Healthcare, which is second on the list, offers up to 52 weeks maternity and adoption leave paid in full for the first 13 weeks. For paternity leave, it offers two weeks at full pay.

Finally, Vodafone offers staff 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave.

Offering more enhanced parental leave packages were found to support families looking after their newborn, increase loyalty felt by workers which could reduce staff turnover, help to create stronger family bonds and boost equality in the workplace by making it easier for women to stay in the workforce.

Paul Wolfe, Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources, said:

Becoming a parent for the first time, or growing your family, is an exciting and precious time. But it’s also the hardest job going. New parents often need to adapt to a whirlwind of change and emotions, which is why the best parental leave programs are designed to give families the support they need during those important first months of parenthood.

It’s encouraging to see a growing number of companies, in a wide variety of sectors, go above and beyond to give their employees enhanced parental leave but employers must also remember that parenting does not stop once their employee returns from leave. 

Paid leave programmes help improve a person’s wellbeing and when an employee is happy and feels appreciated it has a positive knock-on effect on their productivity and loyalty.

For employers, it’s important that programs are inclusive and to understand that there are many different types of families in your workplace when ensuring whoever is the primary caregiver has time with their newborn.

*To obtain these results, Indeed analysed postings to find the increase in such postings from January 2018 to June 2021.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.