Microsoft Australia has increased its paid parental leave period to 20 weeks, in a move that has pushed the standard paid period and drawn praise across the industry.
The new policy, announced yesterday, will extend the parental leave period from two to six weeks for all new parents and from 12 to 20 weeks for the primary carer, and matches the employee’s salary 1:1. The policy will also be available to employees from the day they commence with the company; employees previously had to serve six months before becoming eligible.
The software company also introduced a new time away benefit, providing four weeks of paid leave to take care of an immediate family member in the event of a serious health condition.
“At Microsoft, we are continually assessing, refining, and enhancing the world-class benefits we offer to ensure we’re meeting the needs of our diverse employee population. And we believe that giving our employees more time away to focus on family when needed is the right thing to do,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.
“Whether those be joyful times when bonding with a new child, or more difficult times when an employee needs to step away to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
“Several companies are evaluating these benefits as we have, to ensure we address the evolving needs of Australia’s workforce.”
Marian Baird, Gender and Employment Relations professor at Sydney University, told Fairfax the policy set a new industry benchmark. “It's an excellent provision and is setting a new standard,” she said.