45% of people think that taking time off to care for a child has a negative impact on a person’s job.

A new look into attitudes towards shared parental leave highlights the differences between genders and generations.

The author(s)
  • Hannah Millard Communications and PR Director
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A new Omnibus survey by Ipsos shows that 45% of both parents and non-parents agree that “taking time off work to care for a child has a negative impact on a person’s job” with little difference between men and women (44% vs. 47% respectively). Older generations are significantly more likely to agree than younger people with over half (52%) of 55-75-year olds agreeing while only 37% of 18-24-year olds feel the same. 

Among parents, almost 3 in 10 women (29%) that have taken maternity leave agree that it had a negative impact on their career, while less than half the proportion of men (13%) notice the same impact following paternity leave. 

Only a third (34%) of respondents view their employers as supportive of shared parental leave, with men more likely to feel this way than women (38% vs. 30%). Younger respondents are more likely to agree than older, while over 4 in 10 of 25-34-year olds (41%) view their company as supportive, only a quarter (26%) of 55-75-year olds feel the same way. 

However, this may be thanks to confusion surrounding companies’ policies. Less than a third (32%) of respondents agreed that they had a good understanding of their companies’ policies concerning shared parental leave. While men and women have similar levels of understanding (33% vs. 31% respectively), there is some variation according to age. Over 4 in 10 (42%) of 25-34-year olds understand their companies’ policies, compared to only 27% of 55-75-year olds.

This lack of understanding is reflected in a desire for companies to be more transparent about their parental leave policies. 8 in 10 people (80%) want more transparency while only 4% disagree. 

Claire Timmins, Director of HR Ipsos, says:

This research highlights the need to address the continued inequality concerning parental leave. Levels of awareness and understanding of the different policies on offer need to be significantly increased and it is clear that responsibility here lies with employers. Here at Ipsos we are proud to offer the same paid maternity and paternity leave opportunities and have been thrilled with the number of men who have chosen to make use of our enhanced paternity policy. We believe the positive impact on our employees and their families is huge, both at the time and once they return to work. We hope that as more men take advantage of these policies fewer women will notice a negative impact on their career. There is still more to be done to increase awareness of these policies and make parental leave available to all and we will continue to strive towards these goals.

Notes to editors:

  • The research was conducted on i:omnibus, Ipsos’s online omnibus. Interviews were carried out amongst adults aged 18-75 in the UK with 1,119 adults who completed the survey between 14th and 17th June 2019. The sample obtained is representative of the population with quotas on age, gender and region. The data has been weighted to the known population profile by age, gender, region, social grade and working status to be nationally representative and reflect the adult population of the UK.
The author(s)
  • Hannah Millard Communications and PR Director

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