MP and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson is encouraging businesses to publish on their websites parental leave policies and hopes that many more will join the 'Big Four' and follow suit.
Ten companies so far have signed up to this drive towards workplace transparency. In the past 12 months, the conversation around the gender pay gap has put both peer and public pressure on organisations to improve. It is hoped that the same will happen again, albeit without any legal obligation to do so...yet!
Women (and men) may feel uncomfortable at application and interview stage for a new job to enquire about a potential new employer's policy on parental leave, such as maternity pay, shared parental leave and flexible working. By putting this information online and readily available to new recruits, these difficult conversations can be avoided and barriers to the job market can be reduced.
It makes sense, but will employers follow the lead of their competitors, customers and suppliers? Although only relatively few organisations who were not required to reveal their gender pay gap chose to do so in April this year, pressure has come from employees and industry organisations for greater transparency around gender and pay. Parental policies are the logical next step in transparency, but should organisations look at all diversity strands in a concerted effort to make every workplace as fair, diverse and inclusive as possible?
Ms Swinson, who is deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, thinks there's no excuse for firms not putting this information online. "Companies all have to have a parental pay and leave policy, even if it's as simple as statutory, but there are many offering more," she said. "It's an opportunity for businesses to sell themselves."