Our Interview with Caltex on their working parent initiatives

By Elysha Stephens

Caltex speak to us about their recent media coverage in the Herald Sun and give us some specific details of what they are doing for their working parents. Being a diverse workplace is very important to the company and they have recognised some of the unique challenges faced by working mums.

What are the initiatives you’ve recently put in place for your working parents?
We announced a package of practical and financial initiatives to help primary care givers transition back to work after having a baby. The package includes:
  • 3% quarterly bonus (a total of 12% per year on base salary inclusive of superannuation) to a primary carer once they return to work to help offset costs such as childcare up until the child’s second birthday
  • Up to $1,500 of emergency childcare through the Dial-an-Angel service
  • Specialist assistance to help parents identify appropriate childcare providers
  • Introduction of nursing mothers’ facilities at major Caltex workplaces from 2013

What prompted Caltex to take these actions?

Caltex is always looking at ways to provide working arrangements that meet the needs of its employees as well as help the company achieve its goals. We try to provide flexibility and support to our employees wherever they are in life.

Many Caltex employees who have returned to work after caring for a newborn have identified that this transition brings with it a number of financial and emotional challenges. We announced in September a package to help these parents with this transition. This is tailored to meet the needs of employees as well as help support the goals of our business. We want to attract and retain experienced and skilled employees – this is just one way we can support this goal.

What did you already have in place prior to these last initiatives? I think you already had a paid parental leave policy and procedure in place?

Caltex already offered parental leave of up to 12 weeks on full pay or 24 weeks at half pay for the primary carer. We also provide flexible work arrangements to employees and encourage managers to discuss these opportunities with their teams. To support this, throughout 2012 we implemented a program aimed at developing manager confidence in rolling-out and supporting flexible work practices, dealing with ambiguities associated with flexible work and to challenge our managers to be more innovative in this area.

How have you seen it benefit your organisation? Your employees? Or if not felt yet, what do you hope to achieve in implementing these initiatives?

The initial reaction from our employees has been overwhelmingly positive. We are certainly very confident that this package will help support our primary carers transition back to work and that these benefits will be reflected over time. 

We also hope that, by attracting and retaining highly-skilled and experienced employees, this will contribute to the company’s long-term success. We believe in a diverse workplace – this should include women and men from different countries, cultures, ethnicities, generations and all the other unique differences in our backgrounds that make each of us who we are.

Caltex’s business strategy identifies being a highly capable organisation as a key source of competitive advantage, which requires a formidable, diverse talent base. To gain that advantage we intend to deliver an appreciable shift in workforce diversity and make genuine progress in female participation in senior roles. We hope that the Caltex  BabyCare Package will play a significant role to support that progress.

What difference do you hope to make to the working parent community, Australian organisations as a whole? i.e. other organisations hearing your case study and being heralded in the media.

We see this as an important step forward for Caltex as it seeks to be an employer of choice. The reaction from other Australian businesses has certainly been very positive. Other Australian businesses will make their own decisions about how to meet the needs of their employees. In terms of achieving gender diversity in Australian business, the general principle here is that the more flexible workplaces can be for everyone, the more likely women are to have the opportunity to play any role they choose.

Posted by: mums@work, www.mumsatwork.com.au