Mothers of contention

May 15, 2014

It was disappointing to see such a negative portrayal of higher education institutions as employers in the article “Disappointing pitter-patter of tiny pay packets” (News, 8 May). The article overlooked the fact that employers in the sector offer far better maternity pay and conditions than is offered across the whole economy.

Research by the Universities and Colleges Employers Association shows that 95 per cent of higher education institutions offer maternity pay well in excess of the statutory minimum. Of course the conditions may vary across the sector, but there is still a stark contrast with the findings of the survey by XpertHR that only 55 per cent of UK employers provided anything above the statutory level of maternity pay. A similar IDS survey found that only 61 per cent of organisations exceeded the statutory level of maternity pay. Furthermore, the vast majority of those that offer any enhanced maternity pay (75 per cent for XpertHR, 83 per cent for IDS) restrict eligibility to employees with a minimum length of service.

Helen Fairfoul
Chief executive
Universities and Colleges Employers Association

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