With women making up a large part of the employee population these days (47% to be precise!), it’s good to know that there are companies looking to make it easier on mums. In fact, a lot of businesses have been making changes to improve the parental leave benefits they’ve been giving.
A great example of a company that’s recently made some waves when it comes to adding to the benefits of new mums is insurance giant IAG. The Insurance Australia Group recently announced that it will pay new mothers double wages the first six weeks back at work after their 12 month parental leave period concludes. The incentive has just been added to the 20-week paid parental leave package the company offers its employees. When added to the 18-week parental leave supplied by the federal government, new mums working with IAG can expect to receive almost a year’s worth in wages. Now that’s definitely an incentive that new mothers can look forward to.
IAG seems is leading the pack when it comes to providing parental leave benefits. But will the move have a visible impact on the number of new mother’s returning from parental leave? Well, we think it will have a massive impact. It’s simply a brilliant move on the part of IAG in the area of retention and talent attraction of would be mothers.
The initiative is likely to have considerable impact on the chances of retaining mothers in the following scenarios:
- Mothers who embark on parental leave intending on not returning to work would have a higher compulsion of returning
- Mothers who intended on returning, but experience anxiety about returning i.e. fear of change, office politic issues, baby separation issues, etc could use this incentive to move past these hurdles
- Mothers who return with the intention of collecting the incentive are more likely to become accustomed to the act of working, the income, etc and simply decide to stay on past the 6 week mark
Whatever the reason, we can’t see how this initiative can fail in addressing these concerns that would be common to all employers.
As for the initiative’s impact as a tool for attracting top female talent to roles within IAG, well that speaks for itself. Any female that has even the slightest inclination that she may one day have a child would have to think long and hard about the opportunity this employer is offering. I suspect IAG’s HR team would be well aware of this draw card and will produce it out at every opportunity going forward, and why not. It will be interesting to see what other similar sized corporations will do in the future to increase their odds in these areas.
With this move, IAG is certainly setting high standards when it comes to parental leave benefits, but we believe that a financial incentive such as the one offered here is only one part of the puzzle. The on-going support of mothers returning to work will need to be considered by companies as well if they are to truly acknowledge the struggle families face when mothers return to work. One company that appears to do very well in this area is Mercy Health. For the fifth year in a row Mercy Health has been recognised as an employer of choice for women and it’s easy to see why when you look at the impressive list of benefits it offers to parents and new mothers. Here are some of them:
- New mothers have access to breastfeeding facilities.
- They have the Mercy Bank program that includes employees on parental leave who can fill ad hoc shifts without affecting leave benefits.
- Mothers have access to child care consultants who can help them get the child care they need.
- Parents and not only mothers have access to a school holiday program that helps them manage work responsibilities and still spend time with their kids.
- Parents also have access to a huge support system that lets them share their experiences while on leave with other employees in a similar situation.
This certainly shows that it’s not only financial benefits that will help new parents get through the rearing a new baby. Often, a company can improve their parental leave benefits by speaking with parents and listening to what they think are reasonable benefits to be added. Businesses might be surprised to see that parents often don’t ask for much.