KPMG’s new boss Andrew Yates has started with a bang by announcing a new equal paid parental leave scheme which offers 26 weeks for both primary and secondary carers.
The new policy is a huge advancement on the previous 18-week allowance for primary carers, removing labels, tenure guidelines, and waiting periods. The gender-neutral policy is an industry-leader, going above that offered by most big businesses.
KPMG chairman Alison Kitchen has been a vocal supporter of equal paid parental leave, after the firm teamed up with Business Council Australia to put forward a federal budget pitch that would have boosted female participation in the workforce by overhauling the statutory leave system.
Announcing the new policy last week, Yates said the initial package of initiatives signalled some of his key leadership priorities as the new Australian CEO.
“Our team and the culture we all create here at KPMG will be central to my leadership. Bringing the best hearts and minds together and ensuring our people feel valued and rewarded is the best way to ensure KPMG delivers for our clients,” he said.
“Work-life balance is increasingly hard to achieve in the fast-paced and demanding space we occupy. I know that having the time and opportunity to care for our families, friends and communities is a constant challenge.
“KPMG will now have amongst the most generous schemes of any large employer in Australia.”
Earlier this year, KPMG became a founding sponsor of the Family Friendly Workplace initiative launched by Parents At Work and UNICEF. The scheme aims to benchmark best practice in a number of areas across the diversity and inclusion spectrum.
Parents At Work CEO Emma Walsh said the initiative was born off the back of new research which revealed how many parents still struggle to juggle their work and family life.
“Our research of 6,000 Australian families reported some really startling statistics around the work/life tension people were feeling,” she said. “62% of people said work/life tension and the conflict they were experiencing was really having a significant impact on their mental and physical health, and that it was having an onflow effect to their family life.
“The view from the workplaces involved in the research and a number of community family organisations was that there really were no workplace standards in place for employers to benchmark against or aspire to.”
As well as the new parental leave policy, KPMG has also introduced a cultural leave program that allows employees to take ‘floating public holidays’. Instead of being forced to take an existing public holiday in their state or territory, they can use the day’s leave to celebrate another public holiday or cultural event. First Nations employees will also be eligible for one day of Indigenous Cultural and Ceremonial leave per year to participate in a significant cultural event or celebration. Compassionate leave has also been extended to include those who experience pregnancy loss or miscarriage.