14 November 2022

Contact launches trail-blazing parental leave policy

Contact Energy today announces one of the most comprehensive and far-reaching parental leave policies in New Zealand

Primary Carer:

  • Salary Top-Up - to full salary for the 26-week Government paid parental leave period
  • KiwiSaver Employer contributions - 3% employer contribution for the duration of parental leave
  • 6 Months Flexible Working – returning employees can choose to work 80% of their normal weekly hours and still receive 100% of their normal weekly pay for the first 6 months
  • Childcare Koha - $5,000 (before tax) as a contribution towards childcare
  • 10 Days Paid Special Leave – pregnant employees will receive 10 days paid special leave for pregnancy related appointments
  • Annual Leave – paid at normal pay when employees return from parental leave
  • Fourth Trimester – 3 months free electricity for employees who are Contact customers
  • Food Package:  Pre-prepared meals on the arrival of baby

Partner Benefits: (over and above legislation)

  • Partner’s Leave – four weeks paid leave which can be taken flexibly over 13 months
  • Fourth Trimester - 3 months free electricity for employees who are Contact customers on eligible plans
  • Food Package:  Pre-prepared meals on the arrival of baby

Contact Energy (Contact) has today announced a market-leading parental leave policy, that will take care of primary carers, providing flexibility from before a child arrives and helping to pave the way for a smooth transition back to the work force.

The organisation’s Growing your Whānau Policy recognises that families come in many forms, and acknowledges mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents as primary carers, as well as primary carers responsible for adoption, home for life, whāngai, or any other permanent guardianship of a child who is under the age of 6 years.

This is all part of Contact’s vision to build a better Aotearoa New Zealand and to attract and retain the best talent from New Zealand and abroad.

“We have been transforming the way we work at Contact to go from good to great looking at how we provide flexibility for our people and make Contact one of the best places to work,” says Jan Bibby, Chief People Officer.

“As part of our transformation we took a good, hard look at our parental leave policy and realised it just wasn’t up to scratch. What we are launching today is among the best in New Zealand and is the right thing to work towards our promise to build a better Aotearoa.

“As a mother of two and a grandmother of one, I am beyond proud of our Growing your Whānau policy. We can’t help with those sleepless nights, or comforting a baby during teething, but we can help by providing financial security and significant flexibility for our expectant parents who are part of our Contact whānau,” says Jan.

“When I think back to my own experience, I had to quit my job to become a mother and face a lot of barriers to return to work as a parent. I am even prouder to be offering this incredible policy. I do think of it as a bit of my legacy to Contact people who are embarking on the huge job that is being a parent.”

Jason Shoebridge, Chief Executive at NZIER has called out Contact as a role model organisation looking after its primary carers over and above the statutory minimum for expectant parents.

“At NZIER we support all moves to improve gender equity in the workplace and see the Contact Energy scheme as being particularly generous towards their staff. We have seen best practice in parental leave policies throughout the country and are taking note of Contact’s.

“We have recently completed our latest quarterly survey of business opinion and this time added in questions about parental leave policies. Only 8.9% of NZ organisations who employ over 20 people, top up the salary of staff on parental leave for 26 weeks while only 6.4% of those same sized organisations continue to contribute to Kiwisaver accounts while parents are raising the next generation.”

“We also know from speaking to New Zealand organisations, that those that are employed at places with really great parental leave policies say it sends a signal to the type of organisation they are and how proud it makes them to work for such an organisation, even if they aren’t personally eligible for that policy,” said Mr Shoebridge.

Global Women Chief Executive, Agnes Naera also supports the Contact policy saying it shows intent to create change.

“Contact Energy’s Growing your Whānau’ policy is making commendable steps in improving the way in which businesses support employees in raising their families.

“At Global Women and through our initiative Champions for Change we actively work together with businesses to take a more people-centred approach to leadership and organisational policies. One of the key measures of the success of this is a more holistic view of employee wellness and their sense of belonging.

“The ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ concept is still relevant today but in modern day society our ‘village’ has changed. Our village is now a wider net that incorporates all elements of our person – not only our cultural and societal communities but our workplace; as for many of us this is where we spend a large chunk of our time.

“If we see more businesses continue to imbed systems like this that support employees to show up as their best selves both at work and at home and the myriad of pressures that come with this, it will have a positive impact on the economic future of Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Contact Energy will be delivering the new “Growing your Whānau” policy from today, with liberal application to all its people who have added to their whānau this year.

 

About Contact
Contact Energy is one of New Zealand’s largest energy retailer and generators. We generated 8.3 terawatt hours of electricity from hydro, geothermal and gas in the last financial year and have over 550,000 customers with electricity, gas and broadband connections. Our vision is to build a better Aotearoa New Zealand by leading New Zealand’s decarbonisation journey.

 

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Leah Chamberlin-Gunn 
0212277991