Aussie start-up Linktree introduces 18 weeks equal paid parental leave

It's a world-leading move in the tech space

Aussie start-up Linktree introduces 18 weeks equal paid parental leave

A tech start-up has become the latest Australian employer to introduce 18 weeks of equal paid parental leave in a bid to improve gender equality among staff.

Social tech firm Linktree has introduced a raft of measures alongside the new leave allowance to support all parents both before and after they welcome their new arrival. The new policy is a global leading standard, especially in the tech start-up space where traditionally extended periods of parental leave have been limited to primary carers, the majority of whom are women.

It is part of the reason the technology industry has remained a male-dominated sector for so long. But now, employers like Linktree are raising the standard, championing equal paid parental leave to encourage both male and female workers to take the time they need while becoming parents.

Speaking to HRD, Linktree’s global head of people and culture, Isa Notermans, said the aim has always been to offer an “equitable and holistic parental leave experience”.

“Gender imbalance in the workplace is created when parents have to choose between their home life and work life,” she said. “But parents should feel supported in both roles and have the flexibility to find a balance that works for them and the business they work for.

“This policy aims to make role distribution between caregivers easier and help with the challenges they can face staying in the workforce as a parent. By offering a parental leave policy and experience that responds to the realities of working parents today, we hope to create a workplace that allows every parent to bring their best self to life.”

Read more: Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme improves mental health among women

As well as the equal leave allowance, Linktree’s package includes financial and training support to help employees transition into parenthood. It includes $250 for access to parenting classes, subscriptions or apps of choice, access to professional career coaching, vouchers for meals and a personalised keep-in-touch program.

On returning to work, employees will also receive a $500 stipend to support their return, an additional week of wellbeing leave in their first year back and a co-designed flexi-month to ease them back into working life.

Read more: Volvo's new HRD on equal paid parental leave: 'It's a really powerful message'

The policy also includes provisions to support those who experience stillbirth and infant loss, whether those employees are male or female.

“Linktree’s parental leave policy sits above the benchmark in terms of amount of time offered to both parents across the tech sector and in Australia generally. But, we know that parental leave should be about more than giving people time off and just expecting them to return and perform at the same level,” Notermans said.

“We wanted to include additional support for parents, with the aim of  creating a soft landing in terms of reintegration into the workplace, as well as support throughout the whole parenting lifecycle - from intending parents, right through to the parents of older children.”

It comes as the NSW state government announced the introduction of one week’s paid bereavement leave for public sector workers who experience stillbirth or miscarriage. The landmark policy has been included as part of the NSW budget and is the first of its kind in Australia.

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