Employers await election to change parental leave policies

by 19 Aug 2010

With just a few days to go before election day the paid parental leave debate rages on, leaving employers unsure about what to do with their existing policies.

According to the Hewitt Paid Parental Leave Pulse Survey conducted in July-August 2010, almost three quarters (71 per cent) of corporate organisations already offer fairly generous paid parental leave, with 36 per cent given 12 or more weeks.

However, some are not yet sure how to address this issue. More than half 57 per cent of corporates are undecided what changes they will make to paid parental leave.

Tim Powell, Hewitt Associates managing director for Australia and New Zealand, said: “As the major political parties battle-it-out on paid parental leave policy, a third of companies are waiting for the election outcome before they commit to implementing company policy.

“Our research has found that on the whole, corporate Australia leads the way in recognising the role paid parental leave plays in maintaining an experienced and loyal workforce. However, with different timeframes being thrown around by the Coalition, Labor and the Greens, some organisations are unsure of what best practice is and how to implement it.”

Primary carers are not the only ones to receive benefits from employers. According to Hewitt’s survey, more than half of Australian corporates also offer paid parental leave to secondary carers – with one in three providing at least one week’s pay.

“This survey has found that irrespective of federal policies and politics, the majority of Australian corporates are already offering paid parental leave; seeing it as a competitive advantage to attract and retain talent in an increasingly tight labour market,” said Powell.

“Depending on the outcome of the coming election, we expect these companies will review paid parental leave policies and payments, to maintain this as a differentiator beyond what will be required under federal legislation.”


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