Women in Capital Markets is asking financial firms to support non-birth parents in taking more parental leave.
The Toronto-based non-profit has launched the Parental Leave Pledge, which invites financial organizations “to commit to increasing fathers’ and non-birth parents’ use of leave upon the birth or adoption of children.”
“Gender inequalities in unpaid care work are one of the many contributing factors to gender inequality in the workplace,” WCM stated in a white paper published in November 2021 called The Parent Potential.
“It’s time to evolve cultural norms around who is responsible for and capable of caregiving, and give all parents equal access to participating in this important societal activity.”
In its report, WCM concluded that unsupportive work cultures and lack of adequate financial support often prevent fathers and non-birth parents from taking extended parental leave.
Of the 23 firms surveyed for the white paper, 70% offered birth mothers at least 16 weeks of paid parental leave, with salary top-ups generally between 85% and 100%. However, 40% of the firms offered fathers and non-birthing parents at least 12 weeks of paid leave with similar salary top-ups.
Three firms did not offer paid leave to adoptive parents. Two firms did not have a paid maternity or parental leave policy for birth mothers.
WCM’s pledge asks firms to commit to:
- Providing paid leave top-ups to all parents
- Fostering a supportive culture that normalizes parental leave for everyone
- Working to make the leave process as easy as possible
- Ensuring that careers and earnings are unaffected by leaves
- Communicating leave policies to all employees
- Collecting and analyzing organizational data on leave use
- Publicly stating the organization’s support for leave
The deadline to sign the pledge is Dec. 31.