Employees looking to start or build their families will be able to continue their careers with confidence thanks to a robust new paid parental leave policy implemented on July 1 by North West Melbourne’s premier accounting and advisory firm – Matthews Steer.
The policy provides for between *five and 12-weeks’ paid primary carer leave on full pay, with secondary carers receiving one week’s leave on full pay. The new policy doesn’t affect an employee’s right to apply for the Australian Government Paid Parental Leave Scheme.
The result of extensive research and industry benchmarking, the policy reflects the firm’s focus on nurturing a diverse workplace, and its commitment to its purpose: ‘empowering our community to live their potential’. It is just one of a raft of employment conditions that makes the Essendon Fields-based accounting and advisory firm a competitive alternative to other – CBD-based – Melbourne firms.
The policy was adopted unanimously by Matthews Steer’s Board and is, according to Managing Partner Ken Matthews, possibly the most significant he has seen implemented in the firm’s 30-year history.
“The reality is the accounting profession is changing and we need to be at the forefront of that change,” said Matthews. “Around 80 per cent of accounting graduates coming out of universities are now female and anyone in the accounting profession who doesn’t acknowledge that is going to be left behind.”
Matthews says it’s his firm’s responsibility to ensure all employees have the opportunity to live their potential – both at work and in their home lives - irrespective of their gender.
“This policy is about creating equality,” said Matthews. “It’s for the women in our business who have the desire to become parents but are anxious about potential impacts on their careers. We want to ensure that motherhood is simply be part of their journey and a period of celebration, and we want to support them through that. And, it’s also for the men in the business who take on the role of primary carer, who are also eligible to access our paid parental leave.”
The new primary carer policy is a significant financial undertaking at a time when other prominent Melbourne accounting firms are reducing employees’ salaries to 80 per cent and pulling back on benefits, but Matthews is convinced that it is essential to the firm’s continued expansion and evolution.
“This is a game-changing policy designed to help us attract and retain quality employees at all levels in our business, and it’s a statement of our commitment to investing in our people, our business and our future,” said Matthews.
“We’re taking a holistic approach to our purpose, and we’re offering both work-life balance and support through our employees’ entire life journeys. We want to be part of their journeys; not just for a four or five-year period, but for the long term – ideally for their whole professional journey.
“We're continuing to invest in our people and processes even in these challenging times when others are pulling back. We have to be at the forefront of gender diversity if we're to have any hope of becoming the accounting and advisory firm that we hope to be.”