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Six in 10 working parents would switch jobs for better leave

Written by: Emma Lunn
Nearly two thirds (60%) of working parents and parents-to-be would switch jobs because of poor maternity or paternity leave, with one in seven (14%) having done this before.

Research by Virgin Money found that nearly a third (29%) of working parents think UK maternity and paternity benefits are outdated, with half (52%) of parents fearing losing their job while on parental leave.

Virgin Money has launched a new employment package called A Life More Virgin, offering equal family leave, 30 days’ holiday, and an additional five paid ‘wellbeing days’.

Mothers, fathers and those looking to adopt can take up to 20 weeks fully paid leave and 52 weeks leave overall. Employees will have the flexibility to choose when to take it and when to receive pay.

The package, which is available to all new and existing Virgin Money employees from day one of their employment, has been designed to reflect the post-pandemic working environment. Workers also have the freedom to work where and when they can be at their best, with no fixed expectations of time or days in the office.

The research by Virgin Money found that the vast majority of working and expectant parents (92%) think the parental leave on offer is important when either choosing to remain with a company or find a new one.

One in 10 (10%) working parents are unhappy with the maternity or paternity leave they have previously received. Of those, more than a third (36%) said this negative feeling led them to be less motivated to do a good job when they returned to work. Not being paid enough during parental leave (58%) and not being given enough time off (51%) also influenced many people’s feelings towards parental leave.

It isn’t just the amount of time away from work parents found challenging. More than half (58%) feared missing out on promotions or opportunities while on maternity or paternity leave, while half (52%) are even afraid of losing their job.

Anna Williamson, parenting expert and author, said: “It is clear to see from Virgin Money’s research that most working parents and those about to embark on the journey feel that existing policies and initiatives are out of date. Providing equal family leave to all should be something every company that is serious about supporting their employees should embrace. It’s great to see companies, such as Virgin Money, listening to what people want and adapting benefits to reflect this.”

David Duffy, CEO of Virgin Money, said: “The pandemic has permanently changed our approach to working life. It’s clear to us that by taking a purpose-driven approach to how we work, we can help colleagues achieve a work-life balance that brings out their best.”

Earlier this week challenger bank Atom announced a four-day working week with no reduction in pay for all its employees.

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