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QBE makes history as first NZ company with gender-equal, flexible paid parental leave

QBE has placed itself at the forefront of family friend organisations with its new parental leave policy. The company has become the first organisation in New Zealand to adopt a gender-equal, flexible paid parental leave policy, in line with its endeavour to create an inclusive workplace.

The new policy, called ‘Share the Care’, removes the gendered labels of ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ and aims to acknowledge the important role all parents play within a working family, regardless of gender. The existing 12 weeks of paid parental leave is now offered to all parents.

Additionally, QBE is no long working with their traditional ‘top up’ model, where companies pay the difference between the government’s PPL contribution and the employee’s full pay, and will now use their own stand-alone model which pays parents their full salary for up to 12 weeks of their parental leave in addition to any government contribution.

This leading policy encourages men to take parental leave and play an equal part in the home, at a time where men’s uptake of parental leave is extremely low. In 2017, only 1 per cent (324) of the 30,000+ parents accessing Paid Parental Leave in New Zealand were men.

”The introduction of equality within paid parental leave policies is instrumental in breaking down career barriers for women and enabling men to take a more active parenting role,” says Declan Moore, Chief Customer Officer of QBE New Zealand and Pacific. “We understand there are barriers that prevent men from taking paid parental leave, which in turn impacts on women’s career trajectories once they become a parent.”

QBE was inspired in part to make this major policy change by recent research showing that becoming a caregiver to a child is one of the biggest disruptions to career growth, and is also a systemic root cause of gender inequality. The ‘motherhood penalty’, where women are not equally paid nor represented at senior levels because of time taken off from their career due to caregiving, means that 27 NZX-listed companies have no female representatives on their boards.

The policy, coming into effect September 1 2019, also aims to provide flexible options for each family, whereby each employee can take their 12 weeks of parental leave in a way that suits them - for example, taking two days of parental leave a week for 25 consecutive weeks. The leave is available to take within a 24-month period following the birth of their child.

Parents At Work are proud to have supported QBE in this leading policy change, as QBE continue their aspiration to be an inclusive, family-friendly employer of choice.

In September 2019, Parents At Work will head to Auckland to launch the Kiwi Dads Exhibition at a business leaders roundtable, joined by Minister Julie Anne Genter (NZ Minister for Women, Associate Minister for Health and Associate Minister for Transport) and a host of corporate employers from around New Zealand. QBE’s Chief Customer Officer of New Zealand and Pacific, Declan Moore, will be in attendance as a panellist, along with Parents At Work CEO Emma Walsh and Michael Kim, Spotify’s Head of HR for APAC (Japan, India, South East Asia, and Australia/New Zealand).

Read more about QBE’s announcement here.

Read more about our Achieving Parental Leave Equality roundtable in Sydney held last year here.

Read the Advancing Parental Leave Equality and Introducing Shared Care in Australia – Parents At Work Whitepaper here.