As a member of Family Friendly Workplaces, Accenture is creating a culture that’s helping our working parents to thrive – at work and at home. Our Chief Human Resources Officer, Sarah Kruger, explains what it means, why it’s important and how we’re tracking. 

In 2019, Parents At Work conducted a survey on the experience of working Australian parents and carers. The results were, quite frankly, shocking. A staggering 62 per cent of parents and carers reported difficulties looking after their own physical and mental health as they try to balance work and family pressures. Even more startling is that 1 in 4 parents said they have considered quitting as a result. 

Since that survey we have faced the challenges of COVID-19 with job losses, prolonged stress, the challenges of remote working and home learning. It has been tough for many families, and we need to take urgent action to bridge the work and family divide. 

That’s why we were keen to work with Family Friendly Workplaces to gain our certification. They help governments and employers redesign workplaces of the future, enabling parents to give their children the best start in life, while boosting productivity and women’s empowerment. 

A Family Friendly Workplace culture is one where working families and carers are supported to combine their work and family life commitments. And it’s not just children, parents and carers who benefit. This shift can positively impact the quality of work-life for everyone and contributes to the wider health and wellbeing of our society and economy. Benefits including increasing productivity, as well as reducing stress, absenteeism and gender inequality. 

Why Accenture joined Family Friendly Workplaces? 
Our reasons for being a Family Friendly Workplace are simple – when people feel supported to balance their work and family commitments, they are able to thrive and excel in all areas of their life. We also know that providing our people with flexible options and making family policies available to all parents, regardless of gender, helps to challenge the systems and stereotypes that hold women back and advances gender equality. 

It also helps us to attract, develop, inspire and reward top talent. As the last two years have shown, employees are reassessing the role of work, often reprioritising their lives. After all, when you’ve had to spend months in some cases juggling remote work, home learning, isolation requirements and more, facing an employer who isn’t giving you the understanding and flexibility you need can be a big driver in deciding to change roles. By being able to create an environment that supports our people, particularly working parents, we’re better able to compete in a tight market for talent. 

How are we tracking? 
As a certified Family Friendly Workplace, we’ve committed to a two-year action plan to invest in, and develop a family friendly workplace culture.  

Our parental leave policy offers 18 weeks’ leave for new parents of all gender identities. We know normalising men being active carers is essential for a gender equal family friendly culture and we encourage fathers to take the leave. Over the past three years, about 1200, or roughly 24 per cent of our employees in Australia and New Zealand, have made use of our parental leave policy – and 58 per cent, or almost 700, of the parents were men. This is a huge increase on five years ago when only 56 men took parental leave. 

We also offer the flexibility for employees to take this leave in the way that suits their family over the course of the child’s first two years. This can include part-time work, blocks of leave, or concurrently with the other parents’ leave. 

Our policies also provide flexibility and support throughout the pregnancy or adoptive journey, including paid medical appointment leave. This includes our new Assisted Reproductive Treatment Leave, which is up to 37.5 hours paid leave per year for employees trying to conceive via ART, including IVF. We also offer flexible work options for employees experiencing pregnancy-related illness, as well as options for using a combination of paid and unpaid leave if required. 

Our policies extend to parents who experience the tragic loss of a child, either through miscarriage or stillbirth. In the unfortunate event of pregnancy loss through miscarriage between 4-27 weeks gestation, 5 days of paid compassionate leave is available, with options to extend this through various paid and unpaid leave options. For parents who lose a child late in pregnancy (after 28 weeks gestation), shortly after birth or once parental leave has started, the option to take parental leave as planned is available, if so desired. 

We make an effort to support our parents and carers before, during and after their parental leave. This includes pre-leave workshops for expectant parents to make sure they fully understand our policies and available support. We also know reintegrating after parental leave can be a big adjustment, so we have resources to support the return-to-work transition. 

Of course, it’s not just new parents that need support. Our family friendly policies cater for employees caring for an unwell parent or adult; or for a person with disability - offering up to 37.5 hours paid leave per year for taking a caree to medical appointments; essential shopping or general assistance for the caree. We also provide a range of options for flexible working, including part-time roles in a range of configurations. Our people can negotiate shorter days to fit work in school hours, as well as working fewer days, or compressed weeks.  

We’re committed to equal pay for equal work, so parents don’t have to suffer a financial penalty. This means our people receive pay that is fair and consistent when considering similarity of work, location and tenure at career level. In our last pay equity review in November 2021, we have dollar-for-dollar, 100% pay equity for women compared to men, in every country where we operate.  

Everything we do to support families helps to bring Accenture closer to our goal of being a gender balanced workforce by 2025. We want an environment where everyone can thrive and a culture of equity where people can advance their career no matter when, where and how they work.  

If you’re looking for an employer who values everything you bring to the workplace as a parent – and gives you the support and flexibility you need to be at your best both at work and at home – we’d love to hear from you. 


Find out more about our policies and explore current opportunities. 

  

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Sarah Kruger

Lead – Human Resources, Australia & New Zealand

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