Nearly two in five (39%) female employees struggle to find details about their employer’s maternity benefits, according to research by jobs and careers website Glassdoor.
Its survey of 1,000 working women, 500 who have already taken maternity leave and 500 who plan to do so in the future, found that 13% of respondents said they have to ask for maternity information said it is not published anywhere within the organisation.
Around a third (32%) of respondents were given information about maternity policies when they started a job.
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But more then two in five (42%) of respondents would only ask their employer about maternity benefits if they were announcing a pregnancy.
Just 13% of respondents feel that the right amount of information is made available.
The research also found:
- 78% of respondents think that asking for information during the interview process would jeopardise their chances of getting the job.
- 51% fear that potential employers may jump to the conclusion that they are already pregnant.
- 19% of respondents do not think they would be taken seriously for the job.
- 31% of respondents are worried that asking for information would hinder career progression.
Reasons cited for not asking include: staff were worried employers would think they were already pregnant (43%), they felt it would be perceived that they were trying to get pregnant (37%), they felt it is just not professional (30%), and a fear that they would be putting themselves at risk of redundancy (22%).
The research also found that respondents wanted to see the availability of maternity information change, with nearly half (47%) of respondents wanting to see this in the induction pack.
A fifth felt that employers should showcase maternity benefits to attract top female talent.
Jon Ingham, career and workplace expert at Glassdoor, said: “There are more than 13 million women in the workplace and among these more than five million are working mums.
“These women are an important part of UK businesses so it seems pretty short sighted to keep maternity benefit details under lock and key.
“In fact, a more honest and open attitude towards maternity benefits could improve the quality of candidates looking to work at [in an] organisation.
“It may not be an intentional decision for employers to keep this information from female employees, however, forcing them to ask for it is clearly causing a great deal of distress for many women in the workplace.
“Transparency around benefits in the workplace can actually build greater trust.”