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Our new dads embrace our parental leave policy

Telstra News Community

Posted on December 2, 2019

4 min read

We’ve been named number two on the list of best workplaces for new dads according to research conducted by HBF Health and CoreData. 

Since we announced changes to our parental leave policy in July, more than 400 Telstra dads have taken up the new entitlements which are designed so that every new Australian based parent, regardless of gender, can share caring responsibilities while maintaining their career. 

Changing our policy removed the distinction between primary and secondary carers. Now, any eligible parent who has been with Telstra for 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. 

And there’s added flexibility – it can be taken in one block or multiple blocks and can also be used to return to work on a part-time basis. 

We talk to some of the new dads here who are loving the new policy. 

First-time dad – Steve Papayianis 

Operations Specialist – providing operational support to the Telstra Business Technology Centre 

Steve and Jordan Papayianis, first-time dad

Jordan Papayianis was born on August 17, 2019 to Steve and Jo. The first-time parents were excited, in love, anxious and wide-eyed as their world had just changed forever. This is his story.

I took off five weeks from the birth to help care for Jordan and help Jo as she recovered and adapted to motherhood. 

What I really love about the policy is its flexibility in allowing me to take the 16 weeks in intervals, meaning I can spend quality time with Jordan during different phases of the first 12 months of his life.  

The extra time at home gave Jo and I the chance to really go into parenthood as a team. It’s also allowed me to spend quality time with Jordan and enjoy moments I would have otherwise missed. 

I’m extremely fortunate to be part of a very flexible team and supportive manager who continually promotes the values of family and work-life balance. 

Second-time dad – Dylan Radcliffe 

Enterprise Architect – lead solution architect on the Consumer and Small Business Digitisation Program 

Dylan and Leon Radcliffe, second-time dad

Leon Radcliffe arrived in April to join big brother Eric who is five years old. Dylan has worked at Telstra for 17 years and is relishing the new parental leave policy combined with All Roles Flex. This is his story.

I took two weeks off when Leon was born and I am taking another five weeks over January, which enables me to take on greater parental responsibility and support my partner as she prepares to return to work.  

I believe society has started to acknowledge that women do more than their fair share of domestic work in general, including parenting, and that dads need to lift their game. 

We’ve shown real leadership in this policy change by acknowledging that both parents have a role to play, not just the primary carer (very often the mum). From a personal perspective, this has given me an opportunity to spend more time off work with my youngest son Leon than was possible back when my eldest was born. 

As a leader myself, I believe it is vital we take care of our people – one of our values is show you careafter all. Part of that is recognising their home responsibilities including as parents or carers and providing flexible working arrangements to help with this.  

Soon-to-be-dad – Mark Soffer 

Global Footprint Principal – leading the Global Footprint function which coordinates on what Telstra does across the globe 

Mark and Sasha Soffer, expecting their first child in February

Mark and his wife Sasha are expecting their first baby in February. Sasha is a doctor and won’t be able to take much time off, so Mark is taking a different approach to parental leave. This is their story.

The new parental leave policy has literally been life-changing for me. I’m not just taking the 16 weeks, I’m taking 32 weeks at half pay to stay home with our child and enable my wife to focus on her medical career.  

This wasn’t something that we had considered when we decided to start a family, but the new policy has meant we have been able to prioritise as a family what works best for us and our baby. 

The leadership that we’ve shown by introducing this policy has meant that I haven’t had to choose between being a dad and working full time as we bring our baby into the world. 

Five years on: balancing work and life with All Roles Flex

Telstra Careers Inspiration

Posted on September 18, 2019

5 min read

This year marks the fifth anniversary of our All Roles Flex approach to work. It’s an approach we introduced because we’re committed to helping our people bring their whole selves to work – and a key part of this is creating a culture that embraces flexibility in all its forms.

We’ve adopted a very broad definition of flexibility, recognizing that it means different things to different people. For example, it might mean working outside normal business hours or from different locations, job sharing, or even having the ability to express a preference for certain scheduled shifts.

As a leading telecommunications and technology company, we’re able to provide our people with the connectivity, technology and tools to enable remote working. We’ve also focused on creating the right culture – one which recognises the benefits of diversity and flexibility, and where people feel empowered to manage their roles in a way that works best for them – and Telstra.

Our purpose at Telstra is to build a connected future so everyone can thrive.

And our people consistently tell us that flexibility helps them thrive – at work and at home. It appeals to a range of people across all demographics and has helped increase the representation of female candidates – a number of whom have told us they applied to join Telstra because of our openness about flexibility. In our 2018 employee engagement survey, 80 per cent of respondents reported working flexibly, and more recently in our monthly pulse surveys 87 per cent of respondents have said they’re able to access flexible working and balance their work and personal life.

We’re proud that we’ve been able to maintain the level people are using All Roles Flex as we change how we work through T22 – we were the first Australian organisation to commit to this flexible approach, and we’re committed to continuing to prioritise fairness and opportunity.

We asked our people their lived experiences of All Roles Flex over the last five years. Below are just a few of their stories.

Derek Harvey

When my partner and I were told our much-loved golden retriever Henry had aggressive lymphoma, we were both devastated at the diagnosis and galvanised to do what we could to treat him. Knowing that I could make use of Telstra’s All Roles Flex policy meant I could schedule Henry’s specialist chemo, radiation and follow-up appointments around my work and not have to take regular leave. Fast-forward 18 months and Henry has been in remission now for over a year and is back to normal – much to our relief (and our considerably lighter bank account).

Charmayne Hales

I’m extremely grateful to be able to access Telstra’s All Roles Flex. It allows me the flexibility to complete school drop-offs and pick-ups, plus I can participate in school activities. I get the best of both worlds – my career and not missing out on the once-in-a-lifetime events in my daughter’s life. On top of that, it means I can live where I love – regional Victoria. While I do travel into the Melbourne office from time to time, I have the flexibility to work out of Telstra’s Wendouree office in Ballarat. I have complete work-life balance, allowing me more time with my family and my passions – horse riding and breeding pure-bred cats.

Emma McClelland

As a parent of a child with a genetic disorder that prevents them from creating serotonin – which is what makes people happy – the ability to work from home has been invaluable. Prior to the diagnosis, my child’s mental health was very tenuous, and we had a period where lockdown was required. Had I worked for another organisation, I am not sure I would have been able to support my child’s recovery and ongoing needs and appointments. I am very lucky to have had such support and flexibility.

Judith Newton

Being able to work flexibly enables me to pursue my passion and still have a family life with my husband and – of course – work full-time! I can keep my horses in competition and at their peak because I can attend needed daytime appointments with them to keep them healthy and work them in daylight (particularly relevant in winter) to keep them, and I, fit.

Working from home when we have an appointment means I am onsite when required which minimises the time impact in work hours and allows me to have a more normal after-hours life – I don’t have to work all evening to catch up as I don’t have travel time.

Telstra’s purchased leave policy has also been helpful as I can take additional time to attend clinics and competitions, whilst still having “normal” family holidays. Thanks to this, I have won a double title at the South Australian State Show Jumping Championships (2017) with one horse and an amateur title at the South Australian State Dressage Championships (2019) with the other.

These are my boys – the grey is Sea Sabre (showjumping) and the chestnut is Sea Sprite (dressage).

Tamara Somers

As a single parent and a sufferer of two chronic illnesses, All Roles Flex is the difference between being able to work full-time and not being able to at all. This gives me the ability to be financially independent, which I wouldn’t be if I couldn’t work full-time flexibly.

I work from home three days a week so I can manage medical appointments and kids’ activities. I love that my leader trusts me to deliver results and is not concerned by when or where I work, and that I feel like a valued team member even though I only see most of my team one day a week.

All dads flex: celebrating inclusion and flexibility this Father’s Day

Inspiration

Posted on August 30, 2019

5 min read

Creating an inclusive culture where everyone can thrive, personally and professionally, is a priority for us at Telstra. We’ve listened to our people and put policies in place to support their priorities. In celebration of Father’s Day, some of our Telstra dads have shared how this is paying off for them and their families.

It’s important for us that all of our people can bring their wholes selves to work and feel empowered to balance their work and life in a way that works for them and our business. So we’ve focused a lot on flexibility and fairness – for everyone.

For example, our All Roles Flex approach to work gives our people flexibility and choice in where, how and when they perform their roles. This may mean working outside normal business hours or from different locations, job sharing, or even having the ability to express a preference for certain scheduled shifts. This kind of flexibility is enabled by the technology and tools our people need to connect with their teams and customers anywhere, any time.

Beyond flexible working, we’ve also recently changed our parental leave policy to make it fairer and more flexible for all. We did this by removing the distinction between primary and secondary carers and providing more flexibility in how the leave can be taken.

We recently asked some of the dads at Telstra for their experiences of working flexibly, and we wanted to share their stories.

Happy Father’s Day to all for this Sunday.

We hope you are showered with socks, jocks, chocolates and love!

Tim McMahon – Technical Expert, Clayton

It has been 4 weeks since Evelyn was born. 😍 Time flies!

Back to work on Monday. I’ll take the remaining 12 weeks paid leave later on. 😊

The parental leave policy was a wonderful surprise for my wife, Yuanyuan, and I. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster from the time the midwife, Cassie, handed Evelyn to me while she focused on keeping my wife awake after having lost so much blood.

By taking the first four weeks off, this policy has helped my wife recover and allowed me to spend more time with our family at home. I plan on taking the remainder of the leave over the summer holidays and again when my wife would like to re-enter the workforce as a Software Developer.

The culture and support at Telstra has made me proud to work here.

Wayan Hadi – Multi-Domain Sales Specialist, Melbourne

As most families with newborns will appreciate, finding a balance between being productive at work and enjoying meaningful time with your child can be very challenging. For me, it often meant rushing home for our nighttime routine which would see me spend perhaps 45-minutes per day with my son.

The recent Parental Leave policy change has allowed me to spend real, quality time with Emerson and enjoy some of those “first” moments I otherwise would’ve missed. It’s also given us the freedom to visit immediate family living overseas who haven’t yet been able to meet Emerson (something that would have been previously hard to navigate).

The memories we’re creating as a family unit are immeasurable and I’m so pleased that other families will have the opportunity to do the same.

Cameron Young – Product Marketing Senior Specialist, Melbourne

Working flexibly isn’t something you truly value until it becomes available to you.

As a new dad, I’ve taken full advantage of Telstra’s flexible working policy. I’m able to support my family with time at home; both planned and short-notice, without missing a beat or lowering my productivity. I’ve fully embraced the tools and structures that allow us to work flexibly, and I’m proud to be part of an organisation that has availed this style of working.

I feel supported in my role as a new parent and can manage my time appropriately; not just after hours or weekends. I feel confident that I have the tools and structures required to stay connected and productive. As an employee, the benefits aren’t exclusive to working from home. I can seamlessly co-locate with stakeholders both inter-floor, inter-office and even internationally. I can maintain productivity while on the move, in the car, at home, in an airport, with minimal disruption. I’m able to take full advantage of all the hours in the day.

Robert Milanovic – Technical Solutions Support Tester, Townsville

I’m about to take the first set of parental leave (out of four) to be with my son Hamish. He’s our firstborn and now five months old so he’s at the stage where it seems like he’s developing new skills and personality in front of my eyes – just being around him brings me such joy. 

He already has an action-packed schedule with swimming lessons, group rhythm time and hangouts with his new baby friends and their parents. Being part of that journey is so amazing and the new parental leave policy update will help me be there.

Here’s an older photo of us (he’s 3ish months here) but it’s probably my favourite.

Adam Flegg – Product Specialist, Melbourne

Adam Flegg – Product Specialist, Melbourne

All Roles Flex has meant a lot to my family. I am married with two boys aged 10 and 7. My 10-year-old Jack has Autism Spectrum Disorder and my wife works in retail, meaning her hours change constantly.

Having the ability to work from home allows me to take my boys to and from school, removing the need for before or after school care – something Jack struggles with immensely.

It also allows me to be there for exciting things at school, like swimming!

My career growth: fondue, chocolate and human rights

Community

Posted on July 10, 2019

3 min read

Throughout my career I have sought out roles where social justice and equality are at the heart of what I do.

I have been privileged to work as Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Telstra for the last 6 years, where I manage projects that are all about building an inclusive and respectful workplace to ensure everyone has equal access to a great career here.

I’ve always been someone who is curious about what is happening across the globe, so when the opportunity came up to intern at the United Nations and work on global issues, I grabbed it.

When I approached my leader with the proposal to take a career break for 3 months (unpaid leave) to take on this internship, I was not sure what to expect.

However, my leader and team were so supportive of me growing my skills by working in a globally matrixed environment with governments, trade unions and not for profit organisations. They could also see the benefits this opportunity would give me in my current role.

So at the start of this year, I joined the International Labour Organisation in the Gender, Equality and Diversity team at the United Nations. Leaving my husband and toy poodle dog behind, I packed my warmest winter clothes and relocated to Geneva, Switzerland.

My projects focussed on how to improve disability and accessibility in workplaces through collaboration with governments, private sector and employee organisations.

My highlight was working with the Global Business and Disability Network to produce a webinar about affirmative recruitment practices for people with disability, with speakers joining from Italy, Australia and France.

I would call this experience an opportunity for career growth, not a career break, as I grew personally and professionally during the three months I was there. It also gave me the chance to eat Swiss chocolate every day for three months!

I have returned to work with a greater knowledge of the global context of workplace inclusion and full of ideas to deliver strategies and programs for a global audience. From my experience in Geneva, I saw that private sector, government and NGOs are all tackling similar diversity and inclusion workplace challenges. Although we still have more work to do, it was great to see that Telstra’s diversity programs, like All Roles Flex, Family and Domestic Violence support and diversity recruitment support is in line with best practice globally.

I don’t think I would have been able to achieve so much without the support of my team and Telstra’s All Roles Flex and career break policy.  

Want to learn more about our All Roles Flex policy and search for your next role? Visit the Telstra Careers website.

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.