ANZ raises the bar for working mums

Maternity leave scheme

By Kate Southam

ANZ Bank has upped the ante as an employer of choice for women with the introduction of a child care allowance and superannuation benefits for its working mothers.

The bank will provide a $4,000 child care allowance to women returning to work from maternity leave. ANZ will also make superannuation payments on all paid parental leave taken by staff – including the Federal Government’s paid parental leave.

ANZ already provide 12 weeks paid parental leave at full pay to employees with no qualifying period. Some employers only offer paid parental leave to employees who have been with the company for a set period of time.

For New Zealand staff, ANZ is extending its parental leave payment from 12 to 14 weeks.

The new provisions were announced by ANZ CEO Mike Smith at the official launch of the 2010 Australian Census of Women in Leadership that showed women were still struggling to land senior jobs.

Read CareerOne’s report on the Census, which was carried out by Macquarie University on behalf of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency.  

“We’ve concluded at ANZ that if we are going to make any sustainable, long-term progress in gender equity in our leadership teams this is an area where we simply have to do more,” Smith says.

“We have to address the reality of what happens to women in business when they take time off to have children,” says Smith. “We need to stop penalising mothers.”

“The Centre for Work Life Policy in New York found that the long term penalty for women taking time out from their career has worsened since the recession [with] 73 per cent of women trying to return to the workforce after a voluntary break from their career for child care or other reasons have trouble finding a job,” he told an audience yesterday.

“Those who did return lost 16 per cent of their earning power and over a quarter reported a decrease in their management responsibilities. In many situations women simply can’t sustain the increased hours at work today when also taking on child care and household responsibilities.

“Finally, nearly 70 per cent of the women surveyed said they wouldn’t have left if their companies had offered work life balance options. So where are we really at in Australia?”
In January 2011, Australia will introduced its first ever national paid parental leave scheme.

Funded by the tax payer and administered by the Federal Government, the scheme offers “eligible” primary carers with 18 weeks paid leave at approx $560 a week before tax.

People wanting to access the scheme should register from now really.  Find out more at: www.familyassist.gov.au or phone 136150.   

Women can access the Federal scheme as well as make use of any paid parental leave scheme offered by their employer.

Article from CareerOne, October 6, 2010.


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