A new poll indicates that political parties that opt to introduce better parental leave and entitlements could well encourage voters to vote for them, with 67% of respondents feeling more inclined to vote for candidates or parties that include this in their manifesto.

The poll by Working Families on behalf of the Families and Work Group, was designed to understand the views of parents living in marginal constituencies in England and Wales.

There is a resounding call for better pay and parental leave amongst the respondents; 73% of those polled said the next government should introduce reforms which improve parents’ leave and/or pay entitlements, and 84% of respondents said that the government should do more to support new families to balance work and childcare over a baby’s first year.

Better paternity leave and pay is also a clear priority amongst parents polled. There is a nearly universal belief amongst our respondents (92%) that it is important for new fathers and partners to take time off to care for their baby in their first year. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents said the current offering of two weeks of statutory paternity leave is not long enough.

Kyle Green, Stakeholder and Engagement Manager, at Working Families said:

Our polling shows that parental leave reform is a priority for many and is likely to influence their vote for in the next general election. With three quarters (73%) of parents calling for the government to introduce reforms to maternity and paternity leave and pay, any future government must take heed of the call to do more to support parents in a baby’s first year, particularly enabling fathers and partners to take longer, better paid periods of leave, beyond the two weeks of statutory paternity leave currently offered.

Kyle Green, Stakeholder and Engagement Manager, at Working Families

Additionally, two-thirds (65%) of those polled said that statutory maternity/paternity pay of £172.48 per week is not an adequate amount. This concern about the low rate of statutory pay also explains why the majority (55%) of those polled felt that if paternity leave were to be reformed, increasing pay should be the priority, compared to 36% of respondents who would prioritise a longer period of paternity leave. The overwhelming majority of respondents (88%) said that self-employed fathers should be entitled to statutory paternity leave and pay (currently they have no entitlement).

This need for better leave and pay was echoed as a priority for maternity leave; 42% of parents we polled wanted to see more paid weeks of parental leave for new mothers and birth parents and 41% wanted to see the statutory rate of maternity pay increased.

Finally, while the majority of those polled want to see action from the government, there is an expectation that employers should step up and offer more support to new parents. 80% of those polled said employers should do more to enhance parental leave and pay for new parents.

Kyle Green concludes:

With nearly half (48%) of those polled planning on voting for the Labour Party, which is still finalising its election manifesto offering, the message is clear: parents want a more supportive system, one that offers longer periods of leave for fathers and partners and an increase in the rate of statutory pay for new parents.

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.