Here at Mamamia, we always love to hear about good men doing great work.
We Love. Love. Love it.
Did we mention we LOVE IT?
Whether it’s a man supporting and advancing feminism, seriously tackling gender inequity issues, or simply making a woman’s life a little easier, a little more joyful, we love to see it, read it, feel it.
CEO of Aurizon, Australia’s largest rail freight operator and a top 50 ASX company, Lance Hockridge, has just announced the company’s new shared care parental arrangements.
And he is now officially one of Mamamia’s Good Men.
Aurizon’s plans have made headlines around the world, and are different to anything you’ve seen in a HR document before.
These new parental arrangements are putting dad front and centre into a baby’s first year and encouraging female employees to return to work.
The plan is to incentivise men (female partners of same sex couples are included in the scheme) to take on primary care of their baby in the first year. And they’re doing this with money. Because money talks.
The company is offering a female employee who returns to full-time work in the first year after her baby is born AND whose partner has taken on primary care of that child 150% of that female employee’s salary (up to six months).
Meanwhile, male Aurizon employees are being given a domestic push and if their partner returns to full-time work they are required to take on primary care of their baby for at least 13 weeks during their child’s first 12 months. The male Aurizon employee staying home with the baby would receive half of his salary in this situation (up to six months).
It’s a deliberate “interventionist” approach on the part of the Queensland based company.
“Clearly there are a whole host of cultural, societal and financial reasons why the [gender] imbalance exists,” Hockridge told Mamamia.
“But we know women are disadvantaged in terms of their income and careers by taking on the bulk of the caring responsibilities in that first year. We challenged ourselves to come up with a program that levelled the playing field and would genuinely change the conversation at the kitchen table for Aurizon families.”
With women facing reduced career and financial prospects after taking extended unpaid parental leave and subsequent part-time employment, the new scheme is about equity, inclusion and diversity in the workplace, says Hockridge.
Mamamia’s Editor-at-Large and new mum Jamila Rizvi discusses returning to work after the birth of her son. Post continues below.
“As a parent to school aged children of both sexes, I would never be prepared to accept the notion my children can’t have the same opportunities in education, in the workforce and in life. There is so much work we need to do, not just in equalising caring, but also to address the gender pay gap, female workforce participation and getting more women into leadership roles.”
And it proves that investing in the people in your business does make financial sense.
Happy employees stay and they work hard for you. Hockridge says as a business decision it’s a good one as the benefits to employees, their families and Aurizon outweigh the investment in funding the program.
Happy babies are great too.