The 2018-19 leading employers understand the importance of parental leave and flexible work as key drivers to lowering the gender pay gap.
Stereotypes still dictate the types of roles many women and men play in their personal and professional lives.
Research shows women still shoulder most of the responsibility for care and unpaid domestic work. Women work part-time at three times the rate of men and are therefore disadvantaged when it comes to progressing to senior or management roles.
Access to employer funded parental leave and flexible work for both women and men, supports both their roles as employees and carers and fosters a more equal division of unpaid care.
Fortunately, parental leave and flexible work are prominent themes emerging from the announcement of the 2018-19 WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation holders.
Property development company Stockland and pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson are both organisations setting the standard when it comes to supporting balance at home for their employees.
Stockland mandated that all roles are considered flexible, through their Flexibility@Stockland initiative.
They have had huge success embedding this culture in their organisation, with over 80% of employees utilising some form of formal or informal flexible working arrangement.
Stockland continue the success of the program by creating accountability in their leadership team with KPIs and by conducting targeted consultation with employees to learn more about what is working well.
Stockland are also leading the charge in the area of parental leave, particularly with their male employees.
In 2017, Stockland enhanced their policies to include parental flex options for primary carers taking 16 weeks paid parental leave as well as increased flexibility for non-primary carers.
The outcomes so far have been outstanding, including an increase in male employees taking parental leave to almost 50%, an increase in parental leave return rates to 91% and a strong uptake in Keeping in Touch Days.
Adam Renai, Development Manager Commercial Property in Brisbane, took parental leave in 2017 and said, “It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I would say it’s important to figure out what will work best for your family, then have a chat with your manager and know you’ll be well-supported at Stockland”.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson have successfully fostered a workplace culture that respects the need to balance work with personal commitments. Employees are supported, regardless of gender, career or life stage to access flexible working arrangements.
Johnson & Johnson also offer a suite of additional entitlements to their employees, which range from subsidised school holiday care, to a multitude of additional leave options.
The organisation also recently announced additional entitlements through their parental leave program. They recognise that the modern-day family can take many forms and this led them to build their program around the diversity of parents.
Johnson & Johnson offer 14 weeks of paid leave for the birth, 8 weeks of paid bonding leave for partners, and 8 weeks of paid adoption leave for adoptive parents.
Nicola Johnson, wife of Paul Bottomley, Regional Sales Manager in NSW, said the program allowed Paul “to establish a strong bond with [daughter] Immy so that he now knows all the ques for settling her etc., so when he comes home from work now, nothing is alien to him or to her.”
“The thought of [Paul] going back to work was so far in the back of my mind that it allowed us to concentrate on becoming a family.”