Despite a recent focus on creating fairer and more inclusive workplaces, a new survey* commissioned by REC Parenting – an online platform offering support to parents and carers – highlights there is still a long way for employers to go to effectively support working parents. Only 14% of working parents feel their employee benefits package supports them effectively as a parent and just 20% get any kind of dedicated support as a parent as part of their package. One in five working parents receive no employee benefits at all.

While the labour market shows signs of cooling in 2024, talent and retention will remain top of the agenda for many employers this year. Finding ways to appeal to employees and offer them the support they want and need will be crucial to achieve that aim. As the survey also uncovered 40% of working parents have considered quitting their job because of the pressure of juggling home and work life, providing dedicated support for parents is not only desirable but essential in the current climate.

More support does appear to be available for younger parents, those aged 34 and under, who are likely to have very young children. 28% of parents in this age group say they have dedicated parental benefits, compared to just 16% of those aged 35 and over. There is a perception that parental support is only required when children are of pre-school age, but this is not case. Parents of older primary and secondary school children are facing a whole range of challenges, including a stark rise in serious mental health issues among those aged under 18. Employers need to think more broadly about what parental support looks like and how it can evolve with employees as their children grow.

There is a clear expectation from working parents for their employers to step up and offer their support. Only 4% surveyed think that employers don’t have a responsibility to support their employees who are parents.  83% also think that their line manager should be aware of their parenting responsibilities and 73% would like them to receive training on how to support them more effectively.

Dr Ana Aznar, Founder & CEO of REC Parenting, said “Employee expectations are evolving and what they want most from their employer in 2024 is to know they care about them as an individual and provide the support they need to be able to reach their full potential. This involves supporting them in and outside of work. We know that working parents are feeling the strain and are looking to their employers for help. Businesses that take this responsibility seriously and put practical measures in place to provide that support, will be the ones to reap the benefits.”