Unlimited paid annual leave may sound like a fantasy for many employees, but it’s been on offer to staff at the Sydney and Melbourne offices of Quinton Anthony for well over a year now.
The Executive Search and HR consulting firm offers the incentive to staff along with a training and development budget worth $2000 each.
And while the package has seen a 50 per cent reduction in sick leave over the past year, it hasn’t resulted in employees gaming the system.
Rather, as a small but growing employer of 15 staff, the family-like environment is underpinned by a culture of trust. Employees know what they need to get done week to week and have no interest in leaving colleagues in the lurch.
Now the firm has gone one step further, announcing a Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) support package offering up to ten days of paid DFV leave per year, along with a range of other support mechanisms including: financial support for interim accommodation and relocation costs; safety support for arriving and leaving work; flexible work options access to confidential counselling services; a daily allowance for ad-hoc expenses; and loans to assist with bond and rent, paid through salary reductions.
While it might be easier to move quickly on such incentives as a smaller employer, corporate services manager Milly Freestone tells me their stance also helps to dispel the myth that small businesses can’t afford to offer such options. It’s about supporting staff in the best way possible so they can bring their best selves to work, she said, rather than cost savings.
According to the firm’s managing director Sergio Floyd, they wanted to ensure any employee who finds themselves in a DFV situation is able to support themselves and their families.
While he welcomes recent changes to the Fair Work Act offering employees unpaid leave for such circumstances, he said offering a comprehensive financial support package that can make it easier for employees to leave abusive situations was a key driver for the firm.
“We don’t believe anyone should have to choose between the safety of themselves and their families and keeping their job and financial security,” he said.
“Although we hope that no one will need to use the package, we want to ensure that by knowing that it is available, our employees will feel even more safe and supported.
“We continuously strive for an engaging, open and safe working environment with a family feel and aim to introduce programs and benefits that provide for this.”