Paid parental leave boost good for business

Press Release – Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand

Employers should regard extended paid parental leave that comes into effect tomorrow [April 1] as a business boost in the long term rather than an extra burden, said Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand New Zealand Country Head Kirsten …Paid parental leave boost good for business

Employers should regard extended paid parental leave that comes into effect tomorrow [April 1] as a business boost in the long term rather than an extra burden, said Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand New Zealand Country Head Kirsten Patterson.

“It should be seen as an investment in staff, the workplace and ultimately the business.”

However, she said work remained to be done to reduce the personal, career and financial stresses that often came with starting and raising a family.

Patterson, who is a promoting greater inclusion and diversity to improve societal and economic growth, said getting the balance right will also help reduce the gender pay gap and drive greater economic participation for women which is good for NZ Inc.

The addition of another two weeks of paid parental leave from April 1 will reinforce the benefits for businesses of the old 16-week paid leave provision in terms of attracting and retaining staff, and lifting productivity.

“Having a baby is stressful enough for parents without having to worry about how to survive financially, what will happen to my job while I’m away and what does that mean for my career?” said Patterson who is the mother of two young children.

“If employers don’t allay these fears, then productivity and ultimately profits will be affected as big costs come attached to recruiting and training new staff.”

“The extra two weeks, and extended provisions to include casual workers, will help ease the concerns of parents, but there is still a lot of work to be done to create parent-friendly workplaces in New Zealand.

“Organisations that provide support for parents as they transition to and from parental leave show greater employee engagement and are developing a real competitive advantage when competing for talent.”

Patterson said she believed many employers could also do more to create family-friendly work environments, for both mums and dads, through greater flexibility over part-time work and working hours.

“International research indicates that greater parental leave by fathers has an impact on reducing the gender pay gap and better transitions to and from parental leave helps lift the number of women at the top level of businesses and organisations.

“Greater employee engagement and productivity drives business returns. A truly win-win outcome.”

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand works with staff to identify flexible options that will support their return to work. This includes part-time hours, support to work from home, flexible working hours, professional development advice and parental leave transition support.
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