Parental Pay Transparency: Slow improvement in disclosure of family-friendly policy but majority of employers still fall short

Nearly two-thirds of employers don’t publish basic details of parental pay and leave 

The majority of companies are failing in a basic measure of inclusion by not being clear about family-friendly policy for would be employees.  A spotlight on family-friendly policies in the last year has only resulted in a modest increase in transparency, according to new research conducted by ECC, a firm which helps employers improve gender diversity.

The findings published today in a report called “The 2021 Parental Fog Index: Cross-Industry Report”, come from the third yearly benchmark by ECC of the transparency of parental benefits for the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers, as published on their websites.

The research found that across the board, companies are making more efforts to position themselves as family-friendly.

A total of 37% of companies now publish policy details, including pay and duration of parental leave up from 24% in 2020 and 18% in 2019.

Among the 63% of companies who did not disclose these details, the number who provided no clear details of parental benefits fell to 26% from 44% in 2020. The remaining 37% simply provided generic details, up 5% from 2020.

The study, which placed employers into five categories of visibility, rated 11% of employers in its top ‘beacon’ group up from 9% last year. A further 26% of businesses reached ‘fully visible’ status.  In addition to publishing full details of parental policies, these employers actively market their support to working parents as core to their employer brand.

For the 37% of businesses rated as ‘visible’, those who talk generally about parental support without providing details, the 11% rated foggy, who say they support working parents but don’t say how, and the 15% rated as invisible, where no evidence of support can be found, one simple change – the addition of parental policies including pay and duration of parental leave – would see them meet the threshold for parental transparency making them fully visible.

Commenting on the research Geraldine Gallacher, CEO of ECC said:

“The gap is widening between top employers that actively market their family friendly credentials and those that are still leaving candidates in the dark about pay and benefits for working parents.

In a recruitment market that favours employees, leading employers understand the need to meet employee expectations.  The pandemic has changed parents’ expectations.  Those that found it easier and more enjoyable to manage parenting while working from home don’t want to return to the treadmill, juggling work expectations that don’t accommodate their parental responsibilities.

Parents whose employer won’t accommodate their needs are prepared to change employer for one that will, in increasing numbers.  Employers that understand this are working hard to actively market their family-friendly credentials.

By choosing to be completely transparent about parental pay and benefits at the start of the recruitment journey, the ‘Beacon’ organisations identified in our report are sending a strong signal that they are a place where people can progress their careers after starting a family

Employers that don’t speak directly to the needs of working parents appear tone deaf to calls for workplaces to be more family friendly and are putting themselves at a disadvantage in an increasingly competitive job market.”


The study – The 2021 Parental Fog Index: Cross-Industry report – is available to download from:

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