Large employers are leaving employees in the dark about the support they offer working parents, and some major law firms provide no information at all on available support, a report from a consultancy company has claimed.

According to the Executive Coaching Consultancy (ECC), almost half of the 100 companies it analysed for its ‘Parental Fog Index’ do not publish their policies regarding parental leave and pay. ECC analysed the websites of businesses in the Times’ Top 100 Graduate Employers list, 12 of which are law firms.

The report asked whether the businesses are compliant with measures proposed in the Parental Leave and Pay Arrangements Bill, currently before parliament.  It would require employers with 250 plus employees to publish details of their parental benefits. According to the report, 18 of the ‘Top 100’ would comply with the bill if it were enacted today.

The report also ranks companies on their visilble support for working parents. A company classified as a ‘beacon’ demonstrates that support for working parents ‘runs through its DNA’ while those in the ‘invisible’ category make no reference to support available. 

Four law firms; magic circle duo Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and international firms Pinsent Masons and Baker McKenzie were placed in the ‘invisible’ category. However, ECC stressed that just because details are not available online it does not mean there is no policy in place.

Information on the websites belonging to White & Case and Herbert Smith Freehills was classified as ‘foggy’.

No law firm was listed as a ‘beacon’. The highest ranked law firms were national firm Irwin Mitchell and magic circle firm Linklaters, whose policies were ‘fully visible’. The remaining firms; Allen & Overy, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, DLA Piper and Slaughter and May, fell into the ‘visible’ category.

Geraldine Gallacher, ECC managing director, said: ‘The number of working parents in the workforce is rising and most will apply for jobs with little idea what support a potential employer will give them to manage work and childcare responsibilities. It isn’t realistic to expect applicants to ask for this information at interview stage as many fear doing so will raise doubts in the interviewer’s mind about their career ambitions.’