88% of staff think parental leave policies aid wellbeing

New research has revealed that 88% of employees and managers think that organisations with parental leave programmes show support for wellbeing, with 52% strongly agreeing with this.

Bright Horizons’ findings, which are comprised of responses from staff and managers who are users of the nursery and back-up care provider’s parental leave toolkit and parent transition coaching services, as well as a one-off impact survey looking at the overall effect of having a parental leave programme, highlighted that this sort of initiative is a critical way businesses can demonstrate commitment to staff wellbeing.

A total of 94% agreed that simply knowing their boss recognises the parental leave transition and provides a supportive programme, including digital coaching solutions that can be personalised by the user, or in-person or video-based coaching, encourages a positive view of the employer.

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The findings highlighted that parental leave transition often leads to careers stalling or derailing for working mothers, resulting in a widening of gender pay gaps. However, 88% of respondents said that having a parental leave programme in place helps working parents to keep their careers on track, and nearly eight in 10 (79%) agreed that having a formal parental leave programme at work gave them confidence in taking time out.

Jennifer Liston-Smith, head of thought leadership at Bright Horizons Work+Family Solutions, commented that feedback shows that a good parental leave programme enhances talent retention, with clients typically seeing a 12 to 14 percentage point uplift in the number of leave takers returning to their business.

“This represents considerable cost savings as well as an enhanced employee experience. This research shows that a parental leave offering which combines an online or app-based programme with expert coaching and advice provided in-person or virtually, achieves key personal and professional objectives for both the individual and the employer,” she said.