Engineering organisation Aurecon has enhanced its family-friendly benefits for its 1,890 Australia and New Zealand-based employees, including the launch of a shared care benefit.
The new shared care benefit provides financial support to help secondary carers take on primary carer roles. The support can be accessed in three different situations. First, if an Aurecon employee takes over as their child’s primary carer when their partner returns to work, they will then be able to access the organisation’s paid parental leave benefit. Second, an Aurecon employee can receive 150% of their salary if they return to work and their partner is the primary carer for their child, but their partner cannot receive paid primary carers’ leave from their own employer. Third, if both parents work for Aurecon, they can both access the organisation’s paid parental leave arrangement.
The scheme is available to birth parents, adoptive parents, foster parents and same-sex parents who have six months’ continuous service at the organisation. The scheme applies in the first year of a child’s life.
The organisation currently offers its employees 14 weeks of paid parental leave, although employees can take up to 52 weeks of leave in total if parental leave is combined with other forms of leave, such as annual leave, unpaid leave, and the government’s paid parental scheme. Aurecon provides superannuation payments, the workplace pension arrangement in place in Australia, for both the 14 weeks of paid parental leave as well as 14 weeks of the unpaid portion of the organisation’s parental leave offering.
The Australian government’s paid parental leave scheme entitles primary carers to up to 18 weeks of paid leave at the national minimum wage rate, and fathers and partners are entitled to two weeks of paid leave. The rate currently stands at $695 a week (£421).
Aurecon will also introduce both a parental room and a children’s room at its Brisbane office to further support its working parents. These rooms are designed to enable employees on parental leave or those with children to bring their children in to the office in order to attend short meetings without having to arrange childcare.
Existing initiatives that provide support for employees with caring responsibilities include a flexible-working platform, which allows Aurecon employees to nominate their daily start and finish times across their working week.
William Cox, managing director, Australia and New Zealand at Aurecon, said: “Shared care will not suit all Aurecon parents and is not intended to encourage mothers to return to work before they are ready. Rather, it provides a source of financial support for Aurecon primary carers who choose to return to work within the child’s first year. Shared care is inclusive of all families including same-sex relationships, and is available to birth parents, adoptive and foster parents.”