In 2018, Stanwell’s leadership team approved a proposal to ensure our employees on extended unpaid maternity leave, still accrue long service leave. This change follows the Super Care initiative Stanwell introduced in 2017 which aims to impact the retirement income gap of women.
We caught up with Senior Marketing and Communication Advisor, Bec Manley and People and Culture Business Partner, Erin Lafferty, to find out more about what our parental leave and relevant initiatives mean for them and their families.
We know our employees are all at different stages of their lives. Some are getting their careers up and running, others are looking at starting a family, and some are thinking about easing into retirement.
In order to make a real impact on our company culture, we’re working to enable a more inclusive and diverse workforce. We aim to encourage women to build a future here, from the ground up.
As part of this commitment, we offer 14 weeks of paid maternity leave (alternatively can be paid at half pay over 28 weeks), flexibility in many roles, and fantastic learning, apprenticeship and graduate programs.
Senior Marketing and Communication Advisor, Bec Manley, and People and Culture Business Partner, Erin Lafferty, explain what these opportunities mean to them.
You’re heading off on maternity leave in a week, what does the 14 weeks paid maternity leave mean for you and your family (how does it impact you)?
I’m incredibly grateful to work for an employer that offers paid maternity leave. My husband is a self-employed builder – so if he was to take any time off then we’d lose that income. Stanwell’s paid maternity leave gives me the peace of mind that I can stay at home with our newborn for several months, learning my new job of being a mum, without having to worry about our finances. Figuring out how to be a parent is terrifying enough – if I’d had to add extra financial pressure to that – combined with a lack of sleep – I’m not sure how I’d cope! When you combine Stanwell’s paid maternity leave (14 weeks full pay or 28 weeks at half pay), with what the government offers (minimum wage for 18 weeks), it allows you to have almost a year off while still earning some income.
Stanwell offers 10 keeping in touch days which women on maternity leave can use throughout their time off without losing their parental leave pay. Are you planning to use this opportunity?
I’m thrilled the keeping in touch days are available to us at Stanwell. It means I can still be available to support our team with the delivery of a few key projects (like Stanwell’s Annual Report) and also participate in any team days, training or workshops that come up – without losing my maternity leave entitlements. When you’re going on maternity leave, you can’t help but worry about what you may miss on your time off. The keeping in touch days provide the opportunity to keep one foot in the door, while the rest of my life becomes about changing nappies! While I’m aiming to make full use of the days now, I’m also aware that when the time actually comes, I may be far too besotted and busy with my little one to worry about keeping in touch. Either way, I really appreciate that the option is there.
Stanwell also now allows people on maternity leave to accrue long service leave in addition to continuing to be paid superannuation. What does this mean to you?
There’s no denying the fact that the majority of women end up with far less superannuation at the end of their working life, due to having time off to raise their children in addition to the gender pay gap. Stanwell’s Super Care initiative means I won’t be part of that statistic. While I’m a long way off achieving long service leave (I’m nearly at two years service), the ability to continue to accrue long service leave is another benefit that makes this company such an enticing employer!
How are you feeling about your return to work (when the time comes) and the flexibility and support offered at Stanwell?
Again, I’m grateful for the support and flexibility offered at Stanwell. Some of my previous employers didn’t offer any flexibility, which meant that many mums just never returned to work or put off having children. My manager has three kids of her own, and works flexibly herself, so she’s extremely understanding of how tricky it can be to balance your home and work commitments. As this is my first child, I have no idea what to expect, or what kind of arrangements I’ll need to return to. We are already on waiting lists for childcare – but there are no guarantees when spots will become available. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about it at all, as I know that what ever my circumstance eventuate to be, I’ll have the option of working flexibly or reducing my work hours if I need to.
You’re returning to work after having your second child, how does your team support flexibility in your role and allow you to have work / life balance?
I feel very fortunate to work for an organisation who truly embraces my flexible working requests to accommodate my family commitments. I have many friends who work in organisations that don’t even come close to the flexible culture we offer our people here. This often leaves them struggling with the decision whether to return to work or not.
My manager works flexibly and is very understanding of family pressures, especially those with young families. Across our People and Culture team there are many of us who work flexibly (working from home or reduced hours) for various reasons. We’re really grateful to our General Manager, for extending her trust to us as a team, allowing us to work from home or alter our hours while supporting our family and home commitments.
Being able to work flexibly allows me to have the best of both worlds – pursuing a career and enjoying work while still being able to spend plenty of time with family. Additionally, my husband works with the Emergency Services, so I am able to adapt my hours to ensure we get to spend precious time with our children, especially as they don’t stay little for long!
How did Stanwell’s paid maternity leave and other parental leave initiatives benefit / impact you and your family?
For our family, Stanwell’s paid maternity leave alleviated the financial stress during what inevitably was the unknown for me and my husband. Knowing we had income during the first few months allowed us to focus on my recovery and establishing our new family. This was especially helpful following our second child, as this allowed us to continue our oldest daughter’s day care, sports and our normal routine while she (and us) adapted to her new baby sister.
Supporting families is crucial to building an engaged and healthy workforce, and we understand the importance in creating an environment where parents can effectively manage work and family responsibilities.