I’ve just come back to work after having spent the last year on fully-paid maternity leave. Yes, you read that right: one year of fully-paid maternity leave, thanks to Reward Gateway. I don’t think I could name many businesses that afford this kind of support to working parents. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) found that less than half (48%) of organisations provide paid parental leave for primary carers in addition to the Australian Government’s national Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme. That means most parents receive a maximum of 18 weeks of PPL at the national minimum wage.
I’d be lying if I said that Reward Gateway’s (RG) generous parental leave package didn’t sway my decision to join the team. Along with a host of other amazing employee benefits in its Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and my strong resonance and alignment with Reward Gateway’s mission and values, choosing RG as an employer was almost a no-brainer when discussing my options with my husband. Fast forward to when I became pregnant, the decision and reality of taking a whole year off work was definitely daunting; I was concerned about my career and my relevance in the business. However, these feelings quickly dissipated once I had a sleeping newborn in my arms.
Improving employee financial wellbeing (especially for new mums and dads)
The early weeks with a newborn baby was no walk in the park for me – recovering from labour and learning the ropes when it came to breastfeeding definitely took its toll. Emotionally drained, sleep deprived and physically exhausted, knowing that my employer was supporting me financially meant that I wasn’t only surviving as a transitioning mother, but that I’d be thriving by the time my son was a year old.
Being able to bond with my son for a full year without having to count my dollars and cents was priceless in my eyes.
While I was on leave, I had access to our employee benefits program , including our SmartSpending™ app on my phone, so I could save some dollars on newborn baby expenses, from baby room furniture, to clothes, not to mention our weekly grocery bill and what felt like thousands of nappies that my son went through in those early months.
Stay connected even when employees are on extended leave
It was up to me about how often to reach out to my boss and team, which made me feel trusted and in control of my leave. I had the option of tuning in and catching up using the communication channels that suited me - whether that was reading some of the messages in my team’s Slack channel, or reading important company updates in boom!, our company’s employee engagement platform.
My boss and I decided it made most sense to use my “keeping-in-touch days” leading up to my return to work. I had up to 10 days to spend in the office to (re)familiarise myself with what was going on in the world at work and contribute to ongoing projects. This included a trip to Sydney to join the wider sales and marketing team for a two-day planning and training blitz. It meant that when I did start work, I didn’t feel i’d have to start from zero.
The benefit of flexible working
Reward Gateway sees the value of my time as a mother and in turn, I am committed to making an impact with everything I do at work.
If I need to work from home to focus on something specific, or so that dropping off/picking up or taking care of a sick child is that little bit easier, I can do it with no questions asked.
I’ve been back at work now for about seven weeks now on a three-day-basis and I love the work/life balance that I’ve been able to achieve thanks to Reward Gateway’s flexible working policy. When I’m at work I feel completely engaged and focused to get what I need to do and beyond done.