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Most employers top-up ‘inadequate’ Statutory Maternity Pay

on Thursday, 02 August 2018.

Most employers top-up ‘inadequate’ Statutory Maternity Pay

The UK trails much of the rest of Europe in its Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) provision. However, research from Incomes Data Research (IDR) found that 70 per cent of employers, across all sectors and sizes, improve on the minimum in some way.

The research revealed that, across the sample, enhanced maternity packages are worth an average of 16 weeks’ full pay, before falling to SMP – currently worth £145.18 a week – for the remainder of the 39-week paid period.

“This suggests that many employers believe that the basic statutory offering is inadequate,” said IDR’s Zoe Woolacott. “They feel that a longer period of fully-paid leave can reap dividends in helping them engage and retain talent – even if not all companies openly share their maternity policies with prospective recruits at present.”

Variations in terms of sector and organisation size were found, with the best maternity policies available at manufacturers and utilities firms, closely followed by public sector entities. Around two-thirds of private firms offer enhanced maternity pay, but it is less generous at around 12 weeks’ full pay.

“This may reflect the relative gender composition and correspondingly higher incidence of maternity leave in this sector, as well as a lower incidence of collective bargaining among such employers,” explains Woolacott.

Larger organisations were also found to be the most likely to improve on SMP. However, three-fifths of employers with between 50 and 249 staff improved on the minimum, while just 25 per cent of the smallest employers improved on statutory provisions.

IDR also found that some employers (60 per cent) improve on Statutory Paternity Pay provisions, with around two-thirds of this sample providing full pay for the two weeks of statutory paternity leave, rather than the statutory figure of £145.18