Just under one-fifth (16%) of respondents cite in-house childcare or crèche facilities as the one family-friendly benefit not currently available to them that they feel would make a difference in allowing them to fulfil their caring responsibilities, according to research by Mumsnet.
Its The Mumsnet survey 2017, which surveyed 1,411 parents with at least one child under 18 residing in the UK or Republic of Ireland, also found that 11% of respondents believe openness from their line manager or HR department to discuss non-standard or flexible working patterns would be the benefit not currently available to them that would make the most difference to their caring responsibilities, and 10% cite paid emergency leave for illness of a dependent or family member or disruption of care arrangements as the benefit that would make the most difference in fulfilling their caring responsibilities if it was provided.
The research, whose respondents were 99% women, also found:
- 27% of respondents did not receive any specific support relating to returning to work after a gap, 24% did not receive any specific support relating to working while pregnant, and 14% did not receive an expected promotion or pay rise while pregnant in the workplace or after returning to work following maternity leave.
- 27% of respondents cite that a genuinely constructive and welcoming attitude towards requests for ad-hoc flexible working is the benefit offered by their employer that makes the most difference to them in terms of being able to fulfil their caring responsibilities. Other family-friendly benefits that make a difference to respondents include openness from line managers or the HR department to non-standard or flexible working patterns (19%), enhanced maternity leave, paternity leave, adoption or fostering leave or parental leave pay and conditions (12%), paid emergency leave (8%), childcare vouchers or a monetary contribution to childcare costs (7%), and remote working facilities (6%).
- 40% of respondents who work in the legal and professional services sector do not receive enhanced maternity, paternity or adoption pay, compared with 25% of respondents across the whole sample.
- 10% of respondents working in micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees would like to be offered childcare vouchers or contributions to childcare costs to help with caring responsibilities, compared to 4% of all respondents.
- 14% of respondents who work in small organisations with up to 50 employees are more likely to want to receive enhanced maternity, paternity or adoption leave and benefits from their employer to support their caring responsibilities, compared to 7% of all respondents.
- 10% of respondents working in big organisations with between 250 and 2,000 employees want to be provided with a great return-to-work programme to help make a difference to them fulfilling their caring responsibilities, compared to 6% of all respondents.
- 21% of respondents who work in large organisations with more than 2,000 employees want in-house crèches or emergency childcare to help them fulfil their caring responsibilities, compared to 16% of all respondents.
- 73% of respondents state that having children has made it harder to progress in their career, and 64% feel less employable since having children.
Justine Roberts (pictured), founder and chief executive officer at Mumsnet, said: “People think bosses can make their own rules, and to a certain extent they can; but heading up [an organisation] almost always means working harder than you’ve ever worked before, and the reality is that that tends to knock family-friendly working out of the picture. Aspiring leaders with caring responsibilities can be forgiven for wondering what hope there is for accommodating both of these aspects; hopefully they’ll work out how to do things differently.”