Federal Minister Kelly O’Dwyer’s announcement that she would not contest the next election to focus more on family prompted debate about how, and even if, employers should support working parents.
Now, ASX-listed technology company IRESS has announced that it will offer paid leave to help its employees who have young children starting primary school.
Claiming that the measure is first of its kind in Australia, IRESS said it will provide eligible employees with up to 8.5 additional days’ leave on full pay.
IRESS employs 1,800 people globally, around half of those in Australia at its offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
“Our people told us that when their children started primary school, it was both an exciting and stressful time for the whole family,” the company CEO, Andrew Walsh, said.
“We realised we could be doing more to provide financial and emotional support at this key family milestone.
“Feedback from our people consistently shows that family-friendly benefits are amongst the most highly valued by our people, and so we wanted to provide great benefits that would make a genuine difference to people’s daily lives.”
Mr Walsh added: “As far as we’re aware, we’re the only company offering such a generous amount of leave at full pay to help parents out at this crucial time.”
Melbourne-based employee Cindy Blay said she was looking forward to taking up the benefit as her son Kieran begins school.
“It means a lot to know that IRESS is supporting me to be there for Kieran when he starts school,” she said.
“Being able to take him to and from school, as well as have the time and space for those special first-week conversations — about his classroom, teacher and new friends — is absolutely fantastic. It makes me feel like I’m giving him the best start to his education, because IRESS is supporting me both at work and at home.”