Connecting...

working parents

Parental Leave – How Employers Deal With Working Parents

working parents

There’s been a lot of talk from government quarters of additional supports for parents. With less than three months to go until the government delivers a pre-election budget, there’s a lot of speculation already on what’s likely to feature in the package of tax and spending measures.

 

To put some context on the financial challenge that parents face, consider this: it costs more than €105,000 to raise a child until their 21st birthday, and parents are forking out more than €4,000 per year on childcare, according to a study published by Laya Life earlier this month.

 

The report, which was prepared by an interdepartmental group established by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly, recommended the introduction of paid parental leave for parents of children under one as an extension to existing maternity benefit provision.

 

“There was a desire for extended paid maternity leave and the introduction of shared parental leave,” the report said, in reference to the consultation that framed its findings. It added that a large number of respondents had proposed that “maternity leave be extended to the recommended minimum standard of 12 months. Likewise, greater provision of paternity leave was desired by many”.

 

As a result, the report recommended that additional paid parental leave, which can be taken by either parent, be introduced to immediately follow the existing period of paid maternity leave.

 

How employers deal with working parents comes down to company policy, but in some sectors, where finding staff is hard, better benefits can be used as a bargaining chip. According to Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig, director of Sigmar Recruitment, employers in certain areas are fighting with rivals to attract skilled staff.

 

Mac Giolla Phádraig said that in certain sectors were skilled employees were in high demand – such as specific niches of the tech sector – companies were keen to get it right on benefits to attract staff.

 

“What makes a company competitive? That’s key when it comes to benefits,” he said. “Some of the US tech companies, for example, come to Ireland to scale, with money to spend and the acquisition of talent is key to that strategy.”

 

Given the competitive landscape, companies are looking to “go above and beyond” when devising a benefits package for staff. “The free canteen, the gym membership and so on: to an extent that is all expected now in certain sectors,” he said.“Now you hear of companies offering onsite dentists and healthcare, subsidised hairdressers and so on.”

 

Mac Giolla Phádraig said that some companies are now looking to align their benefits with what employees value, giving rise to an increased focus on work-life balance and family friendly policies.

 

The issue of benefits such as paternity leave is a tricky one, according to Mac Giolla Phádraig. “It’s a matter of company policy,” he said. “Some companies will give two days of paid paternity leave, others will give two weeks. Two weeks would be seen as attractive.”

 

Fathers in Ireland do not – for now – have a statutory entitlement to paternity leave. However, as Mac Giolla Phádraig indicated, some employers will provide for a number of days of paid paternity leave for staff on the birth of their child.

Posted by Sunday Business Post on 7 December 2017

Related Content

W1siziisijiwmjevmdcvmdyvmdgvmdyvmjgvytvjmwvmntctywnmoc00m2i3lthkmdetmguxyza2njy4y2vjl0pvyibby3rpdml0etauanbnil0swyjwiiwidgh1bwiilci0mdb4mjywiyjdxq

Irish jobs market reaches 20-year high, as office re-entry drives unprecedented levels of recruitment activity

Irish jobs market reaches 20-year high, as office re-entry drives unprecedented levels of recruitment activity

Sigmar Recruitment today reports a record high number of job placements over April, May, and June 2021. The number of placements during this period is higher than any other quarter in the recruitment company’s 20-year history. Current figures are up 6% on the previous record set in 2019 before the pandemic. As one of the largest recruiters in Ireland, Sigmar has offices across the country and is present in all professional sectors. The first half of the year saw strong, consistent growth with job placements breaking all records in the month of May, with June accounting for the second-highest month ever. Commenting on the rebound of the labour market, Sigmar founding Director, Robert Mac Giolla Phádraig says: “The jobs market in Ireland has never been stronger or more buoyant than it currently is. We’re seeing several macro trends converge all at once, which is creating significant churn in the market. Remote working has literally opened up a world of new opportunities no longer bound by location. This is coupled with a rising tide of consumer confidence, as many professionals find themselves in a stronger financial position than before the pandemic. “The last 18 months has asked big questions of us all, and the humdrum of lockdown has created a desire for change which is now resulting in unprecedented numbers of people moving jobs. Employee loyalty is increasingly under question, with remote work being less enjoyable, many workers are now committed to the experience of work over the employer, adding further to the current levels of churn.” IT accounted for one-third of all job placements throughout the quarter, followed in order by Financial Services, Sales & Marketing, Accountancy, Life Science & Manufacturing, Office Support, Public Sector, Construction, Professional Services. Business confidence has also grown steadily over the course of the year, as vaccination gathered momentum. The “low-touch economy” is booming is sectors such as e-commerce, digital, and logistics. Says Mac Giolla Phádraig: “The resurgence of permanent recruitment is somewhat unique to how we’ve rebounded from previous downturns, where we typically saw flexible work return quicker.” Although the vast majority of job placement in Q2 were understandably remote, Sigmar reports that the tide is beginning to change with the majority of employers now committing to hybrid work over the coming three months. Mac Giolla Phádraig advises: “As we now choose our workplaces, at a time when the power dynamic has shifted to the employee, employers need to ensure adequate work practices to reconnect the workforce with the workplace equitably. There is an inherent risk that new workforce inequities may emerge, such as “proximity bias”, where those closest to the centre of influence get greater recognition and therefore promotion opportunities as opposed to remote workers. When it comes to individual contribution the opposite could be argued that remote workers get the benefit of having less in-office distractions and their output is therefore greater.” Mac Giolla Phádraig likens remote work to long-distance relationships, which in many cases don’t work out. “We’ve gone from “living” with our employees in an office environment to long-distance relationships, which often sees commitment recede over time. The context of location also opens up new experiences and possibilities, which are now being explored on a scale never before seen.” He adds, “if we thought the war for talent was tough, just wait for the battle of attrition. It’s now emerging as the number one challenge for businesses across the globe.”