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UK Women Fearful Of Asking About Maternity Benefits

Maternity leave and maternity benefits are a bit of a touchy subject in the UK, it would seem. For many women, there are certain aspects of the employment package they would not feel comfortable discussing with potential employers. In fact, according to our latest research findings, almost four out of five women (78 percent) claim the maternity package is pretty high up there on the list of things they definitely would not ask about at interview stage.

There are several reasons cited for this with more than half (51 percent) fearful that potential employers may jump to the conclusion that they’re already pregnant and almost one in five (19 percent) don’t think they would be taken seriously. Almost a third (31 percent) think it would hinder their future career progression within the organisation.

However, there is a deep rooted issue around the ease of finding details of maternity benefits within the workplace. In fact, 41 percent of women feel uncomfortable asking for this information regardless of the circumstance. Unfortunately, just under a third (32 percent) of the women surveyed actually found this information in their induction pack when they started working for the organisation. In total, 39 percent of those surveyed feel this information is difficult to find with 13 percent claiming that employees have to ask for it as it’s not published anywhere within the business.

The bespoke research, which was carried out amongst 1,000 working women in the UK, 500 of which have already taken maternity leave and 500 plan to do so in the future, also explores women’s attitudes towards asking existing employers about maternity benefits. Again, this was met with trepidation with 42 percent claiming they would only ask their employer for this information if they were announcing a pregnancy. Reasons cited for not asking include; 43 percent are worried employers would think they were trying to get pregnant, 30 percent feel it’s just not professional and, most alarmingly, more than one in five (22 percent) fear they would be putting themselves at risk of redundancy.

It seems female employees cannot find a ‘best time to ask’ for this information as 22 percent would make a conscious decision to wait until they had passed their probation period to ask their line manager. Almost a quarter, (23 percent) would bypass authority altogether and ask a trusted colleague after they had been in the job a while.

Luckily, help is at hand from Glassdoor with the recent addition of our Benefits Reviews. Through our free online benefits review survey, you can rate how satisfied you are with your employer’s overall benefits package and describe the best and worst aspects of the package.  You can indicate what benefits and perks your employer specifically offers, including:

  • Health and wellness (e.g. health and dental insurance)
  • Financial planning and retirement (e.g. pension plans, Sharesave schemes)
  • Family and parenting (e.g. maternity leave, childcare vouchers)
  • Annual leave and time off (e.g. holiday pay, sabbaticals)
  • Various perks (e.g. free lunches, company car, employee discounts).

This means that next time you’re meeting potential employers, you can look up their benefits package on Glassdoor before you attend the interview.