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Creating equality for new parents

Inspiration

Posted on July 1, 2019

4 min read

We’re relentlessly committed to diversity, inclusion and flexibility. This includes helping our team bring their whole selves to work and having the flexibility to balance their professional and personal lives.

Our Diversity and Inclusion strategy takes a holistic view of diversity – we will listen more, prioritise fairness and promote opportunities for under-represented groups within our business.

And now we’ve changed our Australian parental leave policy. The bottom line?

We want every parent, regardless of gender, to be able to share caring responsibilities while maintaining their career.

Removing boundaries, prioritising fairness

This change removes the distinction between primary and secondary carers, which are often linked to traditional gendered roles. Now, any eligible parent who has been with us a year or more can take up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave within the first 12 months after their child’s birth or placement. Secondary carers previously received two weeks of paid leave.

There’s also more flexibility in how this leave can be taken. Parental leave can now be taken in one block or multiple blocks, and can be used to return to work on a part-time basis as needed. This is in addition to our All Roles Flex approach that helps our people manage their work and life in a way that works for them.

Equal and shared parenting enables better gender equality in the workplace and reflects our changing society where both parents contribute to caring and family commitments.

This change is already having a positive effect on the lives of some of our people, and it’s being welcomed and supported by many others. Mike and Yvette are two examples.

Mike Bowers, Senior Product Specialist

New father to twin girls born in May 2019.

I think this is a major step in the right direction for gender equality. As a company I think we want to challenge gender stereotypes and this speaks volumes.

As first-time parents embarking on the challenge of caring for our beautiful twin girls, I was faced with a dilemma – be a great employee or be a great father. Before the new policy, I was looking at taking annual and unpaid leave so I could support my wife and family; I can now take some of that leave as paid. It makes me proud to work for a company that takes such a strong stance and really makes me want to give back to a company willing to give to its people during such a special chapter in their lives.

Yvette Sraga, Head of Programs – Principal

Yvette and Liz have shared the primary carer role for their three kids – Poppy (8) and twins Ava and Jacob (4).

I’m very proud of Telstra for challenging the gender stereotypes relating to a primary carer. This is a great step towards ensuring equal opportunity in the workplace and acknowledges the crucial role that both parents play in early childhood development.

In our situation, if both our employers had paid parental leave with options on how to use it, it would have not only removed a lot of pressure, but also would have allowed us both to bond closely with our babies during those precious first 12 months equally.

Commitment to fairness

We want to be the best place to work for all. Today, that means making it fairer for all new parents.

Our new policy of offering 16 weeks of paid parental leave for all parents puts gender equity front and centre. We want our people to bring their whole selves to work, and fulfil their most important role at home.  

This change is initially available to our team members in Australia and we’re working to equalise our policies across our international locations.