CIPR launches new package to support public relations professionals through maternity leave and return to work
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has announced a unique package of solutions intended to help women in public relations successfully navigate the challenges of maternity leave and return to work, statistically one of the biggest causes of the gender pay and equality gap.
Available from Monday 1 September 2014, the ‘Managing Your Maternity Leave’ package includes:
- Up to 12 months payment holiday from CIPR membership – to ease the financial burden of Statutory Maternity Pay
- Up to 12 months discretionary CPD credits – to maintain levels of accreditation
- 10 bespoke guides to managing maternity leave and returning to work in public relations – produced in association with The Talent Keeper Specialists
- Quarterly KIT (Keeping in touch) emails – providing bite-size access to the latest on-demand learning and development opportunities
- Access to a private online community – to promote knowledge sharing, advice and support
The package is announced in context of last week’s research from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) which suggested that “women begin to fall behind at the age when they are most likely to be starting a family”, and from research published on 12 August 2014 by Slater & Gordon which found that “a third of managers would rather employ a man in his 20s or 30s than a woman of the same age for fear of maternity leave and that six in ten mothers felt side-lined from the moment they revealed they were pregnant”.
The move has been supported by Ruby McGregor-Smith, CBE, Chair of the Women’s Business Council and Chief Executive of Mitie Group plc, the FTSE 250 strategic outsourcing company.
As a leading employer of women in the UK, we at Mitie understand the importance of attracting and retaining the best talent to ensure the long-term success of our business. Supporting women through maternity and their return to work is such a value investment and it’s great that the CIPR and public relations industry is taking an active lead in this area.
As the professional body for an industry that is over two-thirds female, we should be an exemplar to other sectors and this is just the start of the CIPR taking a more active role in gender equality, diversity and professional ethics.
At present, the public relations industry loses talented women at an inexcusable rate. There is a multitude of reasons for this, from a lack of support as female practitioners move into leadership positions, right through to engrained attitudes and processes that are at odds with the needs of both organisations and individuals today.
A key area that requires attention is the maternity leave process, which can be very challenging for all concerned. Knowing your rights as an employer and employee is vital for organisations and their best talent to be able to navigate this time successfully. This is why we have made this a priority and developed a number of guides and support mechanisms that I certainly wish I’d had access to when thinking about having a family and then when my children were born.
However this is only a small part of the work that is ongoing. We still have a huge nut to crack. The issue of the gender pay gap, which currently stands at around £12,000, is not going away. It is absolutely unacceptable that men are, on average, earning this much more than women even when performing exactly the same roles. As such, this is where our focus will be until we have done everything we can to help our female members achieve parity and we will be looking to our members and the wider industry to help us achieve this goal.
This package is a first for a professional body in the UK and a unique offering for the public relations profession. We have done our research and listened to our members, delivering a range of solutions which recognises that professional women who decide to start a family require a combination of access to financial support, employment advice, up-to-date industry knowledge and guidance, and access to a peer support network, to successfully navigate the challenges of maternity leave and then return to work confidently.
This is the first of a number of initiatives to be delivered by the end of 2014 with the aim of addressing gender balance and equal pay in public relations.
Up to 12 months payment holiday and up to 12 months discretionary CPD credits are available to any CIPR member who is taking maternity, paternity or adoption leave for a period of longer than 3 months. This forms part of our career breaks package, our commitment to support our members throughout their careers.
CIPR members who are currently on maternity or adoption leave, or who are due to go on leave in the next 3 months, should contact the CIPR Membership Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of PR, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the public relations profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.