New research reveals that a quarter of Brits would be worried to ask about flexible working during a job interview. Amongst those who have never asked about a company’s parental leave and pay policy, 11 per cent were concerned it would send the wrong message to their employers and eight per cent thought it would hamper their chances of getting the job. Three quarters of Brits think that businesses with over 100 employees should publish their parental leave and pay policies on their websites

A new study* into parental leave transparency from Direct Line Group, has revealed that there is still a stigma regarding flexible working and parental pay. The report was commissioned by the insurer as they recognised that balancing family and work is the biggest ask from their employees.

Despite the ever-changing modern family with both society and generational needs, the research revealed that a quarter (23 per cent) of those asked would be worried to ask about flexible working during a job interview. This rises to 30 per cent for 18-34 year olds and one in 10 of this age group were worried about asking a company what their maternity/paternity/adoption/shared parental leave and pay policy was.

An overwhelming 74 per cent of respondents cite flexible working as quite or very important and 70 per cent said that paid maternity leave, on top of statutory pay, was important across all age groups and regions in the UK.

When researching a company that they would potentially like to work for, one in ten (11 per cent) searched for information on maternity leave and pay but could not find it. Only eight per cent said they have asked about a company’s parental leave and pay policy during an interview for a new job and 12 per cent say that although they didn’t ask, they did want to. Of those that didn’t ask, 11 per cent were worried it would send the wrong message to their employer and eight per cent were worried it would hamper their chances of getting the job.

Among those who didn’t ask because they were worried about the potential impacts, 86 per cent said if companies published the details on their website they would not be so concerned about asking.

Direct Line Group supports staff with what matters most to them, to allow people to thrive. This is normally driven by stage of life, or external commitments and personal interests. The organisation chose to create an overarching lifestyle policy, promoting flexibility and choice, which is all encompassing, underpinned by diversity and inclusion, and most importantly, they are easy to find and understand.

Simon Linares, HR Director, Direct Line Group, commented:
“At Direct Line Group we encourage our people to bring all of themselves to work and we are very proud of the diverse and inclusive culture this has created.

“That’s why we fully support parental leave transparency. We have designed a set of new policies which offer all our people whether they be mothers, fathers, grandparents, carers or those looking to pursue a dream or a new challenge, the flexibility and support at work to do the things that matter to them outside of work.

“I feel passionately that no one should feel discriminated against, be it for their uniqueness, individuality or any other reason, when interviewing for a new role and I don’t want us to miss out as an organisation on the wider talent pool because applicants are unsure of what we offer.”

Direct Line Group’s policies are simple and flexible. They recognise the fact that everyone’s circumstances are different and enable employees to balance the things that matter in their life. The new policies support women, men, gender neutral, and move away from the traditional view of ‘family’ (same sex, grandparents, carers). People are able to thrive and bring their whole selves to work as Direct Line Group supports and encourages life interests, commitments in addition to work responsibilities. As an organisation, they do not miss out on the talent pool because potential applicants worry about asking about parental leave/flexible working.

Support at Direct Line Group includes:

  • Employees with at least one year’s service receive full pay during the first 20 weeks of maternity and adoption leave. Those with six months’ service receive full pay during the first 10 weeks whilst all core benefits remain in place for all employees.
  • Shared parental leave and pay mirrors our maternity and adoption benefits and our employees can ask to split their leave into shorter periods with periods of work in between.
  • Up to 12 weeks’ full pay as part of a phased return to work following a period of maternity/adoption/shared parental leave for all employees.
  • Two weeks’ paid paternity leave for all employees.
  • Up to four weeks’ unpaid parental leave each year is also available to all parents, carers and grandparents (recognising the increasingly important role that they play in childcare but also the challenges people are now facing with eldercare responsibilities too).
  • A period of paid compassionate leave can be agreed for anyone experiencing, for example, the bereavement, or serious illness of, a close relative or dependent.
  • Paid time off and/or flexible working arrangements can be agreed during IVF investigations and treatment.
  • Up to 12 months unpaid lifestyle break for anyone wishing to pursue something that really matters to them such as volunteering, travelling, extending maternity leave or re-training.
  • Reasonable time off to deal with emergencies involving those that depend on them.
  • All employees have the right to request to work flexibly. Direct Line Group will always do their best to be as flexible as possible.

These policies are displayed on both Direct Line Group’s corporate website www.directlinegroup.co.uk and their career and recruitment website www.directlinegroupcareers.com/About-Us/Life-at-Direct-Line-Group/Life-Outside-Work

* research commissioned by Direct Line Group, carried out by Opinium research 7-11 September 2018 with 2,003 nationally representative UK adults aged 18+