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Length of enhanced maternity and paternity pay "varies wildly"

There is a wide variance in both the duration and level of paternity and maternity pay across UK employers, according to research by My Family Care.

The survey of around 100 UK employers found that 25% only offer statutory maternity pay (SMP), which equates to 90% of salary for six weeks, followed by £138 per week for the following 33 weeks.

The research also suggests that parents in large companies are more likely to receive a better package. All companies with over 5,000 employees offer at least some enhanced maternity pay. The longest period for enhanced pay is 52 weeks.

My Family Care founder and director Ben Black told HR magazine employers aren't set up for "caring" for staff, rather they are interested in producing an environment where workers can flourish.

"In the future it won't really matter what status people have: whether they're pregnant or gay etc. It's just whether they can do a good job," he said. "So offering large maternity packages may not always be the most important thing. It's more about empowering your workforce to be able to work where and when they can. Shared parental leave and flexible working are just two good examples of this."

Black also suggested employers "with around 1,000 staff" may have the most difficulty in supporting people on maternity or paternity.

"In smaller organisations like ours, with around 300 people, everyone knows each other so arrangements are often made informally," he added. "Larger businesses have the resources to write up policies, but it's the companies in the middle who find it the hardest I think."