Not many people think about maternity benefits when applying for a job, and yet organisations differ hugely in what they provide for parents. Some offer the bare legal minimum, others offer a year’s maternity leave on full pay. In an era of increased awareness of the importance of work-life integration, The Guardian argues, following a study of 250 organisations, that it is the smart organisations that take maternity benefits seriously who will attract and retain talented staff.
The survey discovered that companies often treat family life as being entirely separate from the workplace rather than being, as they are in the lives of most employees, tightly bound together. Very few corporations showcase strong parental benefits among their recruitment incentives or as evidence of high corporate ethics. And yet any working parent knows how damaging it is to productivity, creativity and mental health to work for organisations that blank out or are hostile to the beating family heart of its staff.
The Guardian argues that good support to parents is a social contribution as important as a companies charitable donations, recycling or carbon footprint reduction efforts.

So what constitutes a good maternity package? Benefits vary widely from companies that barely meet the statutory minimum to others that go the extra mile and view this employee benefit as a key criteria in the war for talent. The Guardian noted that the difference often lay in the attitude and tone of senior management towards parents in their employment.
Top performers in the survey
Accenture, Citigroup, BT, Jaguar/LandRover, Reuters, Crown Prosecution Service
..and some of the bottom dwellers
Lloyds TSB, Old Mutual, Boots, Morrisons, Cadbury Schweppes, Nestle UK,
What can companies learn from this survey? Employers need to move towards greater transparency of the maternal benefits they offer. Companies who are interested in attracting and retaining Generation X (20-40 year olds) talent will benefit hugely from developing and executing strategies that places maternal and paternal benefits high up on the list of their company benefits. Employees from Generation X place relationships with friends and family way ahead of their work relationship. Recognising this and offering generous flexible working arrangements will enable smart companies to attract the very best in their industry.

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