Many small-to-medium businesses believe that a best practice parental leave scheme is beyond their reach. It’s not financially viable, they can’t afford the employee absence, flexibility may hurt the bottom line – these are a few of the misconceptions holding businesses back from gender-equal, family-friendly policies.

But best practice paid parental leave is possible, no matter your business size, and the benefits are huge. Of course, it doesn’t come without some challenges.

“The biggest challenge for many SMEs about introducing a paid parental leave policy is knowing where to start,” says Nikki Beaumont, CEO of HR company Beaumont People.

Before implementing Beaumont People’s leading parental leave policy, there were doubts on whether the company could do it.

“It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do, or that I didn’t believe it was relevant to us, as I absolutely wholeheartedly believed that it was,” says Ms Beaumont. “But I honestly didn’t do it sooner as I didn’t think that we could afford it.”

Despite the initial trepidation, Beaumont People pushed forward and implemented a gender-neutral parental leave scheme, and the benefits are obvious.

“We’ve had a lot of people stay with us for a long time – we’ve got some great long service, which is quite unusual in the recruitment world. We’ve had a number of people go off, have families, and come back. We’ve found that giving those people the flexibility and support – it’s just been brilliant.”

Listen to the full podcast interview with Emma Walsh and Nikki Beaumont below or on the Family Friendly Workplaces Podcast page here.