Supporting New Parents: Regulations & Savings
3 August 2023
In our second blog dedicated to supporting parents in the workplace, we cover some statutory regulations supporting working parents. Detailing the costs parents face, we explore how they can use their employee benefits to save on the items they can’t do without.
Last week, we discussed how many parents no longer have a ‘village’ – a local network of support from family members. Our blog, Supporting Parents in the Workplace, shares ideas for how flexible working policies and a family-friendly approach can provide essential support.
For this blog, however, we’ll touch upon the statutory regulations for new parents before moving on to address the startling price of starting a family and how employers can help stretch salaries further when needed most.
UK Policies: Shared Parental Leave
Shared Parental Leave became a statutory policy in April 2015. Before this, fathers were only given one to two weeks of paid paternity leave allowance alongside the mother’s maternity leave.
The statutory allowance for shared parental leave means that new parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of shared parental pay within the first year of the child’s life.
Adopting parents are entitled to up to 52 weeks of adoption leave, with statutory adoption pay paid for 39 weeks, as per maternity leave.
Whilst there is a statutory minimum, some organisations may enhance their maternity, adoption and shared parental leave policies.
Unpaid Parental Leave
Given the current climate, taking time unpaid may not be a popular option, but employees with children under 18 are entitled to up to 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave per child.
The Unpaid Parental Leave policy shouldn’t be confused with the Dependent Care Leave policy, which is in place for emergencies. It’s designed so employees can balance their lives and spend more time with their children.
It’s great for employee morale and families, but it’s also something people must budget for since they wouldn’t be paid for the time taken off under this policy.
The Cost of Parenting
This brings us to the cost of raising children, which, put simply, is expensive!
According to an article published by The Times, raising a child from birth to 18 in 2023 costs, on average, £223,256 - £12,400 annually or just over £1,033 per month.
Thankfully, this isn’t an ongoing monthly expense since it factors in the high cost, ‘up-front’ items such as pushchairs, car seats, and longer-term childcare. Parents don’t need to budget for this figure every month, but it sets the scene for understanding the financial implications.
At the newborn stage, the most frequent expense parents face is on nappies. Whilst the reusable nappies industry is ever-growing, figures published by Statista in 2021 show that disposable nappy usage remains the norm.
According to a price-sharing community page, a baby would get through approximately 5,353 nappies from birth to two years!
This is too much for some families, and a Baby Banks survey found that 83% of parents are rationing nappies, changing them less frequently than the NHS advises.
Essential Savings: Two Ways to Save
Whether new parents get hand-me-downs or buy preloved, there are certain products they can’t do without and will be purchasing every week.
In our blog, An Employer’s Guide to Maternal Mental Health, we shed light on the mental health issues many new parents face, and financial anxiety can add to the existing pressures.
We designed our financial wellbeing benefits offering so employees can make savings where they matter most, from weekly shops to filling their car and everything in between!
Employee Benefits Platform
Our Employee Benefits Platform is home to discounted vouchers that you can spend with a wide range of retailers online and in-store. Accessible via iOS, Android or desktop, your employees can purchase a discounted voucher with popular supermarket retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, M&S, Morrisons, Asda, and Waitrose and save from 4% to 6.5% with each voucher they purchase.
Let’s say a pack of 20 nappies costs £5.00. If your employees purchase them from a retailer offering 6.5% off their vouchers, that £5 voucher would cost £4.68 – a 32p saving. It’s nothing to get excited about in isolation, but financial wellbeing benefits make the most significant impact when they form part of employees’ daily lives.
We’ve highlighted that in the first two years of a child’s life, they’ll use approx. 5,353 nappies. Based on our example above, that’s just over 267 packs of 20 at a total cost of £1,335. Using a voucher discounted by 6.5% every time yields a saving of just over £86.
Remember, this is just for one regularly purchased product.
A Which report found that the average cost of a pushchair is £340.32, and a first-stage car seat is £144. A voucher discounted by 4.5% from a popular department store would save your employees over £21.
Consider that this would cover the cost of four packs of nappies, and you can start to see the impact savings can make.
Then we have…
Cots, costing anywhere from £70 to £700.
Moses baskets from £50 to £200.
Baby monitors from £29 to £399.
You can purchase all of these products with retailers on our Pluxee Discounts and Pluxee Card. Encourage employees to explore their options to find the best deal, and they’ll soon see that small savings add up to make a big difference.
Paying with vouchers isn’t the only salary-stretching solution.
With our Pluxee Card – known as our Household Support Card - employees can earn up to 15% cashback when they purchase goods with their favourite retailers, including Boots, Halfords, Argos, Bugaboo, JoJo Maman Bebe, some of the supermarket retailers previously mentioned and more. After all, we partner with over 80 retailers in total!
Let’s stock a nappy bag with some of the must-have items and see what cashback employees could earn:
Nappies - £20
Baby wipes – £30
Nappy change cream - £5
Portable changing mat - £8
Total send: £63.
With a retailer offering 7% cashback, your employees would earn £4.41 from this spend, which would appear on their card as an available balance.
When employees use the benefits available to them to seek salary-stretching opportunities, their money will go further, relieving some of the financial burdens of parenthood.
Embed Essential Savings for Parents with Pluxee UK
It all adds up.
Small savings here and cashback earnings there combine to make a significant difference to your employees’ finances.
There’s more to the process than making employee benefits available. Consistent communication is essential for encouraging the uptake and usage.
Tailor your messages to employees’ unique needs.
Create a ‘new parents pack’ for employees when they share their baby news! Give them even more to smile about by communicating the retailers and discounts they can benefit from the most, then keep that communication going during maternity, paternity, adoption, or shared parental leave.
When your employees stretch their salaries further, they can experience more of what matters and more moments of joy. In return, they’ll be more loyal to your business, more engaged and more likely to return to work.
Arrange a call to discover how employee discounts and cashback can support your people and open up a world of opportunities for your business.