Aurecon’s parental leave policy encourages parents to experience new ways of combining work and care
"Looking after Jack full-time has been the most
fulfilling, enriching and enjoyable time of my life" says Tom Wallent,
Senior Structural Engineer and Dad to Jack (nearly 1) from Aurecon.
In August 2017 Aurecon introduced a new Parental Leave
Policy, which offers three main ways for all parents (including single or
same-sex parents) to care for children in the 12 months from when a child joins
a family (through birth, surrogacy, adoption, foster or kinship care). They
weeks paid leave (if both parents are Aurecon employees, they are both
weeks paid parental leave interspersed with days of work (e.g. 3 days of leave,
2 days of work per week)
weeks of 150% salary if an Aurecon employee’s partner takes unpaid leave (i.e.
their employer does not offer paid parental leave) to care for the child,
enabling the Aurecon employee to return to work.
Aurecon pays superannuation on paid leave and for an
additional 14 weeks during unpaid leave (if taken). Eligibility for paid
parental leave is currently three months’ service. Importantly, we know that
parenting doesn’t stop when children reach 12 months. Our flexible working
arrangements, including YesFlex – varying start and finish times, provide a
framework for ongoing care for children (and elderly relatives or relatives
with a disability, or to manage other interests and commitments outside work).
Since the introduction of the current parental leave
policy, the proportion of paid parental leave taken by men has more than
tripled and the joy expressed by our Dads is priceless. We also offer two weeks
paid partner leave, which can be taken concurrently with the other parent.
Let’s hear some more from Tom:
What impact is the parental leave policy having on your
My wife Laura is very happy that I now know how to look
after Jack day in day out, and everything that comes with that, and I’m
incredibly grateful. I guess you don’t really know what you’re missing out on
until you are given the opportunity (or take the opportunity!). It’s a lot of
fun and very rewarding!
What makes the policy work so well?
To be able to get to spend quality time with your child
for an extended period without the stress of work on your mind is amazing! The
other key aspect is that it has also allowed me to experience, understand and
appreciate all that is involved with raising a child which has traditionally
been undertaken by a female. As such, I believe the more men who can have
similar experiences will not only find it extremely rewarding but it will also
help the team culture and empathy regarding parenting (eg sleepless nights,
childcare dropoff/pickup etc.). I expect this will lead to more understanding
and hence flexibility within the office, which will lead to a greater level of
enjoyment and staff retention at work. Personally, it will definitely impact
how I manage and care for my team. In addition, my wife was able to return to
work earlier than she would have without my leave, which she really
How are you staying in touch with Aurecon during your
I have brought Jack into town for a couple of the team
lunches which has been good. Aside from that, my colleagues will contact me by
phone about anything important but otherwise it’s very nice to not have to
check any emails (though my unread has gone from 0 into the 1000s which is new
What’s your advice to other parents or future parents?
I highly recommend it! I would also encourage them to
take 100% leave rather than work part-time, as it makes the experience so much
more rewarding as you are 100% committed to your child and are not thinking
about your next email!