Bain & Company expands unpaid parental leave scheme in UK

20 November 2019 3 min. read
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Global strategy consultancy Bain & Company has sought to improve the gender equality in its upper echelons by providing a parental leave package that does not “imply or even financially force the birth mother to become the primary care giver.” The new scheme will give new parents – regardless of gender – up to 52 weeks of leave with the first 26 weeks fully paid.

With British businesses apparently facing an impending talent crisis, firms must now demonstrate to perspective employers that they are offering a top experience, or risk potential staff falling into the hands of competitors instead. This means companies must demonstrate good overall satisfaction with their culture, as well as key workplace attributes including career opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values, and work-life balance.

Global strategy consulting firm Bain & Company has already cultivated an excellent reputation on these grounds. The firms was named one of the best places to work in the UK according to employee reviews collated by Glassdoor, with positive feedback often citing the firm’s supportive and ‘mission driven’ culture. At the same time, however, as the UK’s employment rate continues to rise – tightening competition for new workers – firms have increasingly found that the widening of employment opportunities to maximise intake has become paramount to recruitment success.

Bain & Company beefs up unpaid parental leave scheme

To this end, employers in the UK are keen to leverage parental leave offerings as a way to attract top talent in a shrinking labour market. A report by finance comparison service Money Guru has found that the UK generally offers the best statutory paternity and maternity leave levels in the world. New fathers are entitled to 14 weeks of paid leave – level with Germany, Finland, Denmark and France, while new mothers in Britain – along with those in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Austria and Poland – can obtain up to 52 weeks of paid leave.

In order to further boost its recruitment potential to compete with this, Bain has subsequently announced the beefing up of its parental leave offering. From 2020, new parents – regardless of gender – will be eligible to receive up to 52 weeks of leave with the first 26 weeks fully paid. The new policy covers biological births, adoption and surrogacy, and will be phased in over the course of next year, and fully in place by 2021. The changes aim to remove a barrier to gender equality in the workplace, allowing both parents to spend time with their new child.

According to a release from Bain, while the intent of most traditional maternity leave policies is to offer support, “often they imply or even financially force the birth mother to become the primary care giver.” The firm suggests that this not only influences the role the other parent plays over time, but also influences future decisions a birth mother might make about her career – and in particular can create differences in career timings and progression between men and women, simply driven by gender.

Michael Garstka, Managing Partner of Bain in the UK, said, “We are proud to take this major step towards gender equality at all levels at Bain & Company in the UK. We remain committed to redefining the management consulting industry and we continue to invest to ensure that Bain is a workplace in which all members of our teams can thrive, both personally and professionally. Our equal parental leave policy and broader flexibility options are key components to that.”

The news follows a boost to the parental leave offering of Bain’s Australian wing. The American-origin strategy consulting firm, which has three offices in Australia (Melbourne, Perth and Sydney), already had a generous parental leave scheme in place, but further enhanced the attractiveness of its parental leave scheme by committing to higher superannuation contributions for those that miss out on their regular pension payments.