You can't really put a price on motherhood, it's what makes the world go round. Nevertheless, our new XpertHR research takes a close look at the costs of maternity leave to employers, and finds that organisations spend an average £8,546 a year each time someone goes on maternity leave, when expenditure on maternity pay - and finding and paying for a replacement - is taken into account.
In many cases it costs a lot more - but some of the employers in the research have reduced replacement costs by spreading the employee's workload among other employees, bringing down the average outlay. Two-thirds of the employers in the research take this route for at least some of their maternity leave cases.
Based on results from the 181 employers in the survey, the total cost per organisation of funding all cases of maternity leave averaged £125,000 over the past 12 months.
An average 3% of employees went on maternity leave at each organisation during that period.
The survey also found that almost half (45%) the employers enhance maternity pay beyond the statutory requirements - slightly fewer than in 2011, when 56% paid an enhanced rate. Public sector employers are far more likely to do this - 85% compared with just 19% in the manufacturing-and-production sector, and half (48%) of other private-sector companies.
Photo by "happyworker".