A recent poll conducted by Working Families on behalf of the Families and Work Group sheds light on the sentiments of working parents in marginal constituencies in England and Wales regarding parental leave and pay entitlements.

The findings reveal a strong desire for reforms to improve parental leave policies, with implications for political support.

According to the survey, 48% of respondents would vote for the Labour Party if a general election were held tomorrow. Moreover, an overwhelming 73% of participants expressed the view that the next government should introduce reforms to enhance parents’ leave and/or pay entitlements. This sentiment underscores the significance of parental leave policies as a factor influencing voting decisions.

Desire for Extended Leave and Better Pay

A significant proportion of respondents advocated for extended leave and improved pay for new parents. 52% of those surveyed proposed that new parents should be entitled to 12 weeks of government-funded leave in their child’s first year, while 92% emphasized the importance of new fathers and partners taking time off to care for their baby. Additionally, there is a consensus that the current statutory paternity leave of two weeks is insufficient, with 64% of respondents calling for a longer period of leave.

While there is a demand for government intervention to improve parental leave policies, respondents also expect employers to play a more active role in supporting new parents. 80% of those polled believe that employers should do more to enhance parental leave and pay. The findings underscore the need for collaborative efforts between the government and employers to address the concerns of new parents and create a supportive environment for balancing work and childcare responsibilities.

Kyle Green, Stakeholder and Engagement Manager at Working Families, highlighted the importance of parental leave reform, noting that it is likely to influence voting decisions in the upcoming general election. He emphasized the need for longer, better-paid periods of leave for fathers and partners, reflecting the sentiments expressed by parents in marginal constituencies.

The poll results send a clear message to political parties and employers alike: parents expect meaningful reforms to parental leave policies to better support families during the crucial first year of a child’s life.