Inside SUEZ's new parental leave policy

‘Supporting our employees as they grow their families is a fundamental component of our commitment to gender equity’

Inside SUEZ's new parental leave policy

SUEZ has announced a new Parental Leave Policy, including the provision of additional paid parental and partner leave.

The resource management company’s policy provides for 14 weeks paid parental leave to the primary carer immediately post-birth or following the adoption of a child under the age of five, and a lump sum payment of two weeks’ salary on return to work.

Moreover, four weeks paid leave will be made available to partners (secondary carers) for use within the first 24 months.

At the conclusion of paid leave, primary carers will additionally be entitled to unpaid leave for 38 weeks, during which time they will continue to receive full superannuation entitlements.

Effective from 1 July, the new policy also applies retrospectively to any employee currently on parental leave as of 1 January this year.

Previously, the company’s 2,800 employees across Australia had access to six weeks paid maternity leave and paternity leave of one week in addition to extensive unpaid leave.

SUEZ Australia & New Zealand HR Director, Kim Hall said that employees have welcomed the new policy.

“Supporting our employees as they grow their families is a fundamental component of our commitment to gender equity, and this means widening our policy to be more inclusive of a myriad of different family and caring situations,” said Hall.

READ MORE: Horrible bosses: Women denied parental leave

“By shifting the focus from simply maternity leave to supporting primary carers and their partners, we will better reflect the diversity found in our workforce and ensure equitable access to financial, flexibility and career continuation benefits, regardless of which parent or carer assumes the primary care role.”

The enhanced entitlements bring the company’s offering for primary and secondary carers into line with other major employers of choice, including Medibank Private, SEEK and Commonwealth Bank.

The extended benefits will not affect employee access to the Federal Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

READ MORE: Netflix expands parental leave to hourly employees

Hall added that the revised policy builds upon SUEZ’s recently launched flexible work practices initiative, and its commitment to providing equal opportunities and remuneration - regardless of gender.

“We have come a long way in Australia when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, but there is still a substantial gap,” she said.

“What we’re really aiming for at SUEZ is a situation where everyone can access the same rewards, resources and opportunities.

“It’s not only what is fair and right; it also makes a significant positive impact on our overall economic performance and ability to attract and retain exceptional people.”

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