NZ telco 2degrees bolsters paid parental leave package for employees

'It's going to make a difference when its needed most'

NZ telco 2degrees bolsters paid parental leave package for employees

New Zealand telco 2degrees has bumped up its parental leave package to better support staff and attract new talent.

The company announced it has committed to topping up statutory leave payments up to 100% of an employee’s base salary for the entirety of the 26-week period, as well as bolstering superannuation contributions when they return to work.

2degree’s chief people officer Jodie Shelley said the company is proud of how it looks after its people but previously, the organisation had missed the mark when it came to parental leave.

“Our new industry-leading policy is going to make a real difference to our people, when its needed most,” she told HRD. “We know that by making these changes now, we are not only going to be able to provide greater financial security for our new parents, but also make it easier to return to work when the time is right.”

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As well as raising the bar for their current employees, the new policy is also designed to attract new within New Zealand’s talent-short market. Like Australia, certain industries in NZ are struggling under the current talent shortage thanks to the closed international borders. It means for businesses looking to drive a strong recovery out of the pandemic, their offering must go above and beyond the rest of the market.

“We have a wider ambition to be the first choice for people,” Shelley said. “To do this we need to have a company culture which both attracts and retains the brightest talent in the market.”

2Degrees will match superannuation contributions two-for-one when an employee returns to wor, for a period equal to the duration of unpaid leave up to 26 weeks. For up to 12 weeks, the company will pay primary carers for five days a week, while allowing them to work four. Annual leave will also be paid in full once they return to work, and partners will be eligible for two weeks paid leave.

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Elsewhere in New Zealand, organisations are beginning to rethink leave allowance. As a country, New Zealand offers a relatively short period of statutory leave, but is more generous than neighbouring Australia. Primary carers receive 26 weeks paid leave and 26 weeks unpaid leave.

The average length of paid leave among OECD countries is 55 weeks, and many European nations offer more flexible arrangements, allowing mothers and fathers to split the childcaring responsibilities. Like in Australia, dads in New Zealand receive just two weeks of paid statutory leave – well below the OECD average of 8.1 weeks – and the uptake is low.

Campaigners argue improving the parental leave system and introducing more flexibility would have a positive impact on helping women back into the workplace sooner, in turn reducing the gender pay gap. As well as debate around improving the parental leave scheme, there have also been calls to introduce superannuation contributions while carers are on leave in a bid to reduce the gender pension gap.

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