The new policy, applicable for the organisation’s 8,000 staff based in Australia, will see PWC make full superannuation contributions into an employee’s workplace retirement savings for up to 12 months while they are on parental leave; this includes staff that are taking unpaid parental leave, or parental leave at half pay.
The policy is effective from 1 July 2019; any parents currently on parental leave will receive superannuation contributions for the portion of unpaid leave that falls after this date.
PWC has introduced the new policy to create a market-leading parental leave policy and to demonstrate its commitment to gender equality.
Victoria Park, diversity and inclusion director at PWC, said: “While parental leave can be accessed irrespective of gender, this change has come about in response to the earnings gap; a significant social issue for Australia.
“Currently, the average Australian woman has a 47% disadvantage in their superannuation balance on retirement compared to the average man. This is a big factor in the rising number of older Australian women who are homeless or living in poverty.
“This change demonstrates PWC Australia’s commitment to closing this gap and promoting gender equality. Additionally, as more men access parental leave, we want to ensure that, regardless of gender, our people are not financially penalised later in life for taking on caring responsibilities at the time of a child coming into their care.”
PWC Australia’s parental leave policy is available for all new parents, including all gender identities and covering birth, adoption, surrogacy, foster care and kinship care. The policy, which is available to staff from day one of joining the organisation, also acknowledges those experiencing a stillbirth or infant death. Under the policy, primary carers can take 18 weeks of paid parental leave, either in a continuous block or flexibly, and are able to take up to two years away from work. Co-parents are able to take three weeks of parental leave.
Around a third (35%) of PWC Australia’s workforce has caring responsibilities. In 2018, 373 staff commenced a form of parental leave and in the 2019 year to date, 127 have started a type of parental leave; 50% of these have been taken by men.
Dorothy Hisgrove, chief people officer at PWC, added: “Creating an inclusive culture for us is about recognising different needs and making it okay for people to approach work in the way they want to. To do this, we work to avoid unconscious bias and ensure the behaviours of all our people align with our PWC values, so everyone is treated fairly and equitably, especially in recruitment and promotion opportunities.
“We continue to evolve and improve our policies and benefits to support this and ensure our people can work in ways that are smarter and that suit them and their lifestyles. For example, our All Roles Flex policy enables our people to choose how, where and when they work, so they can structure it around their lives, rather than the other way round.
“We have also publicly announced targets including a minimum of 40% women and 40% men for PWC’s future partner admissions and a 50% gender target for experienced hire appointments at a director level to encourage greater gender diversity in leadership roles.
“Further, at PWC we are committed to our policy of providing 10 days of paid domestic and family violence leave, and we continue to advocate to other organisations that this is best practice.”