Answering a call for ‘All for Equal’, Unilever Australia has today announced that all employees, irrespective of gender, will now have access to 16 weeks of primary carers leave in the first year of their child’s life. This new policy allows for the primary care giver to return to work and ‘pass the baton’ to the other parent who would then receive full primary carer benefits.
According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, just one in 20 Australian fathers are taking up primary parental leave. The ‘pass the baton’ policy builds on Unilever’s 2019 sector leading changes, including superannuation contribution of new parents for the full 52 weeks of their parental leave. Only 14% of Australia’s 500 largest businesses offer ‘pass the baton’ leave policies, Unilever is proud to be one of them.
Unilever has long been at the forefront of building a gender balanced business, this policy builds on its existing commitments, including: declaring all roles flex, treating domestic violence as a workplace issue, meeting 50/50 balance in management roles globally, including recently appointing a new female ANZ CEO, receiving the WGEA certification 3 years running, coalition building to drive forward industry initiatives such as UnStereotype Alliance and proactively ensuring gender pay parity to create a fairer, better and more equal world.
“Offering our employees the flexibility to choose how they parent is key to creating an equal workplace. The decision to return to work can be difficult - this change will mean that if a mother or other primary carer wishes to return to work within the first 52 weeks of their child’s life, their partner can become the child’s Primary Care Giver and benefit from an additional 16 weeks paid parental leave.”
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s a timely reminder that all businesses have a clear role to play in driving gender equality in the workplace, and while we have made progress there is still work to be done,” said Clive Stiff CEO of Unilever Australia & New Zealand. “Some fathers are conscious of a stigma and bias around taking extended leave, especially when they are unable to see many of their male colleagues taking leave. As a leader, and a father myself, I see an opportunity to end this stigma and lead by example on these important issues.”
Unilever is deeply committed to building a gender balanced business. Across its 14,000 management positions globally, 50% of them are now women and this increases to 57% in Australia and New Zealand. With females representing over 70% of the company’s consumers globally, Unilever strives to build an organisation that reflects and understands the needs of people who buy its products.
Clive Stiff is also a Male Champion of Change (MCC), an Australian organisation led by Elizabeth Broderick that works with influential male leaders to step up beside women to take action on gender inequality. Clive has previously spoken at International Women’s Day events to share his beliefs that leadership and accountability are essential if real progress is to be made.