Caltex fuels parental return-to-work debate

by Iain Hopkins26 Sep 2012

Caltex fuels parental return-to-work debateCaltex Australia today announced a ground-breaking initiative for Australian workplaces that will help provide the financial and practical support new parents need to return to work after caring for a newborn child.

The initiative includes 3% quarterly bonuses to a primary carer once they return to work (a total of 12% of base salary per year inclusive of superannuation).

For a primary carer employee earning $75,000 a year, this would equate to $9,000 of pre-tax income to help offset costs such as childcare up until the child’s second birthday.

Key points of the Caltex BabyCare initiative include:


  • 3% quarterly bonus (a total of 12% per year on base salary inclusive of superannuation) to a primary carer once they return to work to help offset costs such as childcare up until the child’s second birthday
  • Up to $1,500 of emergency childcare through the Dial-an-Angel service
  • Specialist assistance to help parents identify appropriate childcare providers
  • Introduction of nursing mothers’ facilities at major Caltex workplaces from 2013


Caltex Australia Chairman Elizabeth Bryan said the BabyCare initiative complemented the company’s existing policy of paid parental leave.

“Returning to work after caring full-time for a newborn baby can be a challenging time both emotionally and financially for our employees,” Bryan said.

“The package that Caltex has announced today provides these employees with both the practical support and flexibility to make the transition easier. Caltex benefits as experienced, skilled employees return to work and contribute to the company’s business success.”

Caltex’s group manager for employee relations and diversity, Marie Irwin, said she believed the package was the first of its kind in Australia. In addition to the Caltex BabyCare Bonus the initiative will include Emergency BabyCare – free access to emergency nannies and mothercraft nurses for the times when new parents need additional support at short notice.

“Support will also be available from ‘Work-Life Links’ to assist parents identify suitable longer-term childcare options upon returning to work,” Irwin said.

Bryan said Caltex and many other employers struggled to retain women after having children, but the program would hopefully improve female attraction and retention rates.

“We’ve only got to have a couple of people not leave and the cost [of the program] is covered,” she told the Australian Financial Review.

Caltex is still a heavily male dominated workforce with only 30% of its 3,500 staff across Australia being women.

Other companies are taking the return-to-work issue seriously. In April this year, Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) launched what is claimed to be the most generous and accessible parental leave program in the Australian financial services industry, with 20 weeks’ parental leave at full pay.



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  • by Judy Higgins 26/09/2012 1:07:10 PM

    All good for parents looking to return to work. Does Caltex have an older worker policy to recruit and retain older workers?

  • by Jessica 28/09/2012 2:15:04 PM

    How will Caltex handle the disgruntled employees who choose not to have children? Surely this could be some kind of discrimination, seeing as though ONLY parents are entitled to this bonus?

  • by Jessica 28/09/2012 2:18:30 PM

    How will Caltex handle the disgruntled non-parents who are not entitled to this extra 3% per quarter? Surely this is some kind of discrimination, seeing as though only parents are entitled to it?

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