Telstra laid an important stake in the ground this week, championing equality and a fairer future for its employees.
In an impressive policy change, the telecommunications giant will now offer all eligible Australian workers 16 weeks paid parental leave for the first 12 months of a child’s life or placement, irrespective of whether they are primary or secondary carer.
The period offered, can also be used flexibly instead of in a single block, allowing new parents to split up leave if it suits their needs.
In a press release, Telstra states that the reason for the shift is to enable every parent, regardless of gender to share the caring responsibilities while maintaining their careers.
Given that 60 percent of Australian women with children under the age of five work part-time, compared with 10 percent of men in the same position, changes like this from big businesses are very much welcome.
Mike Bowers, a senior product specialist at Telstra says the policy has been a game-changer for him and his family. As the new dad to twin girls born in May 2019, he recalls being “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,” he said.
“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.”
Telstra says the policy is initially available to team members in Australia with the plan to equalise across its international locations.