Medibank announces new parental leave policy

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Medibank Private has launched a new flexible paid parental leave policy that provides all eligible parents, regardless of whether they are the primary or secondary carer, with 14 weeks paid leave within the first 24 months. 

The company said the new arrangements include people taking leave at the same time as their partner. 

Medibank group executive of people and culture, Kylie Bishop, said, “Our employees told us the old policy lacked flexibility, and didn’t acknowledge that all families and babies are very different. So we are removing the labels of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carer completely. Instead they’re a parent.”

The new policy is called ‘FamilyFlex’. Parents can choose to take their 14 weeks leave across two different periods within the first 24 months. Under the previous policy, the primary carer would be eligible for 14 weeks paid leave in one block, while the secondary carer could take two weeks paid leave.

Ms Bishop continued, “We want to change the story and provide greater flexibility and participation in carer responsibilities regardless of gender. Parental leave disproportionately affects female employees and it shouldn’t.

“Many men don’t feel comfortable asking for parental leave at all. We want to remove any barriers that prevent men from playing an active role in their family.”

The company said last year, close to all employees returned from parental leave, with most still with Medibank a year later. 

“We’re proud that Medibank’s senior leadership group is split evenly between men and women," said Ms Bishop. "We don’t want to lose any employees after they become parents, but we also need to ensure that our leadership pipeline remains strong. If parents who want to work are leaving because they need greater flexibility, then they’re unable to progress with their career.”

Medibank was also named last month as an ‘Employer of Choice for Gender Equality’ by Workplace Gender Equality Agency for 2018.