New research has revealed the strategies of organisations which provide flexible working conditions and have paid parental leave policies in place – and the impressive return on investment is turning heads.
In a survey on paid parental leave and return to work provisions undertaken by the Diversity Council of Australia of its members, it was found that 91% of organisations had a policy to provide paid parental leave and 96% offered part-time/reduced hours – and as a result their average return to work rate was well above average at 89%.
Progressive employers recognise the benefits to productivity of offering paid parental leave and provision of flexible working conditions, Nareen Young from DCA said. “These employers know paid parental leave and flexible work conditions help attract and retain talented employees, especially women, and protect the significant investments they make in training and developing employees. Family-friendly practices in workplaces are crucial to reducing staff turnover and cutting the cost of having to replace experienced employees,” she said.
Some employers are quite innovative in their approaches such as continuing to pay superannuation while their employees are on unpaid parental leave, or making sure they remain eligible for salary reviews whilst on leave. Several employers surveyed allow employee couples to share the one paid parental leave period or allow each to take their own paid parental leave period, provided it isn’t taken concurrently. Several others allowed the parental leave periods to overlap. “This reflects the realities of parenting today where parents often swap the primary carer role at different times,” Young said.
Some of the more generous and innovative policies adopted by employers included:
The most generous paid parental leave was up to 52 weeks paid leave: 12 weeks leave provided at full pay and up to 40 weeks paid at 0.60 of salary for the primary carer.
10% made employer superannuation contributions to employees on unpaid parental leave.
In the case of employee couples, some organisations recognised that families want to be able to swap the primary carer role between parents at different times:
23% allowed parents to share the one paid parental leave period (e.g. they share the 12 weeks paid parental leave period, each taking 6 weeks leave), provided they do not take leave concurrently, and each is the primary caregiver for the time they are on leave.
14% allowed parents to each take their own paid parental leave period (e.g. 12 weeks paid parental leave each), provided they are the primary caregiver at that time and leave is not taken concurrently.
11% allowed parents to share the one paid parental leave period (e.g. they share the 12 weeks paid parental leave period, each taking 6 weeks leave) and take overlapping periods of leave.
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