June 9, 2022

EnergyAustralia has given its parental leave policy a major revamp, making it amongst the most progressive of any Australian employer.

The company is providing 20 weeks’ paid parental leave that’s completely gender-equal, allowing paid parental leave to be taken flexibly to encourage take up by men, and even taking aim at the gender super gap with a full-time super benefit paid to part-time parents.

Jodie Haydon, EnergyAustralia’s People and Culture Executive, said the company wants to change the stereotype that ‘women care while men earn’.

“We don’t assume mothers are the main carers. We’ve got rid of the primary and secondary carer labels, so that no matter what their gender or situation, every EnergyAustralia person expecting a baby is now entitled to a generous 20 weeks’ paid leave.

“We also know that women retire with significantly less super than men - about 40 percent less. That’s due to the double penalty of time out of work while caring for children and then returning to work part-time.

“We want to give all our people, but especially women, a better life in retirement. When our people are taking unpaid parental leave, we’ll still pay their super at the normal rate. Then, if they decide to return to work part-time, we’ll pay them super as if they were fulltime instead. Plus, we’ll do this right up until their child turns five.”

Jodie says the company’s evolved policy is focused on enabling parents to take parental leave in a way that best suits them.

“We’re encouraging parents to take paid parental leave flexibly within a two-year period. Maybe dad will take two days off a week while mum returns to work, for example. And the same applies for couples in a same-sex relationship.

“We support having both parents being involved in a child’s early years of life as it sets the tone for how the family will operate in the future. When fathers and partners take parental leave, they are more likely to participate in ongoing childcare and other unpaid household responsibilities. I’ll be thrilled to see lots of our dads taking advantage of our policy. In fact, there’s already a few putting up their hands.

“We’ve worked hard to create a place where people want to work. Our Energise program which gives people the freedom to choose when, where and how they work, and allows them to choose their own public holidays, is one example. And it’s paid off, with EnergyAustralia ranking highly in the AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list for 2022.

“We see our parental leave policy as just the latest in our ongoing effort to make EnergyAustralia an employer of choice in a post-COVID world,” said Jodie.