|Oceania

Better, fairer parental leave for all

SUEZ Australia & New Zealand Human Resources Director, Kim Hall unveils SUEZ’s new parental leave policy and the company’s push for greater equity and diversity in the workforce.

At SUEZ, we’ve placed considerable focus in recent times on better understanding our workforce and how we can support our most valuable asset to achieve, grow and innovate. With more than 2800 employees right across the nation working in all aspects of our waste and water business, our human resources profile is incredibly diverse and constantly evolving  – something we are rightly proud of and determined to nurture.

Like our workforce, the way families work and share the care of young children has changed considerably over the past decade or two. We have invested heavily in developing our people and creating stimulating and rewarding career paths, but the fact remains that supporting children through their earliest years places considerable pressure on parents and carers – both financially and in terms of career interruption. We believe that this needs to change.

Like our workforce, the way families work and share the care of young children has changed considerably over the past decade or two. We have invested heavily in developing our people and creating stimulating and rewarding career paths, but the fact remains that supporting children through their earliest years places considerable pressure on parents and carers – both financially and in terms of career interruption. We believe that this needs to change.

Our recently expanded Parental Leave Policy is a robust step in the direction of greater equity for parents and carers in our workforce. It offers significant increases in paid leave for both carers, with 14 weeks for primary carers – an additional eight weeks on prior entitlements – and four weeks paid partner leave for secondary carers. Primary carers are also entitled to a further 38 weeks unpaid parental leave during which full superannuation entitlements are retained, along with a two-week lump sum return-to-work payment and access to ongoing support.

No two families are identical. Gone are the outdated maternity and paternity leave entitlements tied to gender and so-called ‘traditional’ family roles. Under our new policy, benefits are instead assigned based on carer roles to offer the same support is offered to primary carers – and secondary carers – regardless of gender. This also means greater equity for same-sex partner families, single parents and non-biological parents and carers.

We’re leading our sector in so many areas, delivering valued services to our ever-growing customer base and innovating the resource revolution for a more sustainable tomorrow. But beyond this, we want to cement our leadership as an employer of choice and provide industry-leading benefits to our people. Our parental leave offering compares favourably with other sector-leading companies including Medibank Private, Mirvac, Australian Securities Exchange and Commonwealth Bank.

Everyone deserves the same rewards, resources and opportunities. In Australia and around the world, women continue to earn less, accrue fewer retirement savings, and don’t advance their careers as far as men. At the same time, men have less access to family-friendly leave and working arrangements than women.

SUEZ’s expanded parental leave policy is but one element in a larger strategy designed to shift the conversation and ensure our continued competitiveness, including extensive gender pay gap analyses and new flexible working arrangements. We’re committed to closing the gap in remuneration and career opportunities, driving greater diversity and inclusion, and reshaping the way we work to better reflect the shifting landscape of society.