Medibank made history earlier this year when they rewrote the rulebook, scrapping ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carer labels and adopting a fair approach to Parental Leave.

In this podcast, Medibank’s Kylie Bishop (Group Executive, People & Culture) is interviewed by the Parents At Work CEO, Emma Walsh.

This podcast is sure to inspire other HR & Diversity practitioners who are looking to enhance their own Parental Leave Policies. Kylie outlines and reflects on the policies put in place in March, and how they are changing behaviours and cultures within the business.

In short, the policy is progressive. It’s flexible. It’s inclusive. Kylie says it reflects the purpose and values of the company, and it all started out with listening to ‘the people’; the employees at Medibank. And the statistics speak for themselves when looking at the impact the policy change has had in the company.

Only 2.5% of employees taking Parental Leave at Medibank were male prior to the policy change. Now, men make up 21% of Parental Leave takers. 

Medibank wanted to “make a stand” for their people, and “create an exceptional experience around parental leave”. Kylie explains, “now any parent can take 14 weeks paid leave, and there’s flexibility in the way that they can do that”, it really is tailored to “what best suits the family situation”. Not only are men taking more leave, they’ve also seen men leading the charge much more in areas such as flexible working, doing the school drop off and pick up, and caring roles in general. This speaks volumes for the impact that policy change can have on culture. 

Emma also asks Kylie about how this all works from a business perspective. How do you, as an HR or People and Culture, or Diversity practitioner, successfully approach higher management regarding equal, generous parental leave? Kylie says their approach was more a ‘philosophical conversation’, where they explained the notion of removing primary and secondary carer labels, and how that would increase male participation in parental leave. Of course, they also thought about “what will this mean for employee engagement, talent attraction and talent retention?”.

Listen to Kylie’s top tips for employers in the latest podcast by Parents At Work . . .