A report by a consultancy company has found that only a small minority of employers are in a position to comply with a Bill currently making its way through parliament.
The Parental Leave and Pay Arrangements (Publication) Bill, which is scheduled to have its second reading this month, requires companies with more than 250 employees to publish information about their parental leave and pay provisions as well as pay and benefits in the course of parental leave. The policy must also state any qualifying conditions that apply.
These policies and an accompanying statement that they are accurate must be published on the employer’s website “in a manner that is accessible to all its employees and to the public”.
This obligation on large employers to publish their “statement of policy” will come into force within two months of the Act being passed. Employers then have to publish a new statement in the event of any material changes being made to the policy. Failure to comply could result in a fine of not less than £500 but no more than £5000 levied by HMRC.
According to the survey by the Executive Coaching Consultancy which reviewed the website of organisations in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers guide, only 18 were currently compliant with the provisions of the Bill.
That is, they published full details of their policies supporting working parents on their website, including details of pay and duration of the leave available. The top four companies also featured case studies on their website demonstrating how the policy worked in action
The consultancy also found as part of its research that just over half the websites it searched did not contain a single reference to Shared Parental Leave, meaning that a job applicant who wanted to know this information would have to ask at the interview stage.
Following research showing that take-up of Shared Parental Leave could be as low as two per cent, the government launched a campaign which currently features prominently on the home page of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Jo Seery of Thompsons Solicitors, commented: "While publication of employers policies on entitlement to maternity, adoption, paternity, parental leave, shared parental leave parental bereavement leave and any discretionary leave is welcome in the interests of transparency, it is unlikely that publication of policies alone will address the increase in pregnancy and maternity discrimination revealed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission research."
To read the report in full, go to the Executive Coaching website.
The bill can be read here.