At AGL, we celebrate the different set of circumstances and needs that each parent brings to our business. We’re committed to facilitating a workplace culture where parents feel supported to be themselves and find a balance that works for them and their families. Over 50% of our workforce are parents so we know that by creating a family friendly workplace not only will our employees be able to deliver their best for the business, but they’ll also be able to deliver their best for their families.
We understand there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to offering a family inclusive workplace and that’s why we have several policies, procedures, and tools to support our people.
Paid parental leave and domestic violence leave
Our market leading 20 weeks paid parental leave recognises the contributions of all genders and the uniqueness of every family structure and is available to all parents, including in situations of surrogacy, adoption, and fostering. We also provide ten days paid leave for those dealing with the impacts of domestic violence.
Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace
We are proud to be recognised as a Best Practice Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace. This means that our Melbourne, Sydney, Eastwood offices and Loy Yang, Torrens and Macquarie sites offer a dedicated Parent Room for storing and expressing milk or changing a nappy.
Tools and resources
We have a dedicated section on our intranet that houses all information on being a parent at AGL including benefits like parental leave, carers leave, and how to organise flexible working arrangements. We also provide resources and tools for leaders on how to best support employees who may be pursuing family friendly working arrangements.
Underpinning all this great work is our employee led AGL Parents Network. This Network was started by a passionate employee and has grown to over 150 members and has leadership support from Joao Segorbe our Executive General Manager, Strategy and Corporate Development, who is also our Executive Sponsor of AGL Families. The Network meet informally each fortnight to share advice and provide support each other, discussing topics ranging from how to best balance work and parenting commitments to new and fun school lunch ideas.
Every two years we run a Flexibility and Diversity & Inclusion Survey to learn about the demographic of our people and identify the gaps in our organisation.
In our most recent survey, more than half of our employees identified that they have parenting or caring responsibilities. This data and insight allowed us to tailor, update and improve our policies and procedures to better meet their needs. Some of the updates we made included adopting working from home arrangements, building an online Flexible Working Hub, and creating our internal Connected Hub on our intranet. This is an online resource of helpful tools, tips, and practices to support and empower employees.
We’ve seen a positive response in the number of employees taking parental leave or utilising carer’s leave. The biggest change we’ve seen is a shift in mindset from both our employees and our leaders. More employees are sharing their experiences of managing work and family commitments, as well as having open and honest conversations with their leaders about what they need to succeed on both fronts. Our leaders have not only become even more supportive of employees creating flexible working arrangements but are really adopting it themselves – with many leaders taking the time needed to care for their families as well.
What has your organisation learnt as it has become more inclusive of families? What business benefits can you link to being a family friendly workplace?
By creating a family friendly workplace, we’ve learnt that not only can we tap into a greater and more diverse talent pool when recruiting new employees but that our people feel valued, supported and understood in the workplace. We’ve also implemented gender diversity targets for women in the senior leadership pipeline which is monitored by the Board and our business units work collaboratively to support our people into leadership positions, regardless of their caring responsibilities. For our women in leadership, who are parents or carers, it is clear they feel they are supported to effectively balance work and home life.
For Mick Loprese, a Plant Maintenance Engineer at Loy Yang, taking flexible parental leave this year has allowed him to build a special bond with his young son, Jordy – while also ensuring his wife Jess could continue to pursue her career.
This is Mick’s story:
Sunday 6 January 2019 was the best day of my life. This was the day my wife, Jess, and I welcomed our first child into the world – a boy, Jordy. From that moment on, our lives changed forever. When I held this tiny baby in my arms for the first time, the love I felt was unimaginable, something I’ve never felt before. It’s now been around ten months since we took him home, and we’re doing great. Jess is a natural, she has taken everything in her stride.
One thing that makes it even greater is the 20 weeks of paid primary carer leave which I have been lucky enough to take through AGL. I have worked for AGL here at Loy Yang, for nearly five years, starting as a Fitter and Machinist in the Station Maintenance team before being seconded into the role of Plant Maintenance Engineer within Fuel and Ash. I’m now responsible for the routine and breakdown maintenance of the Coal Plant and the Ash Disposal System.
Ever since I applied for parental leave, my management teams here at Loy Yang have been extremely supportive, and willing to do everything they could to make it happen for me. I have ended up taking 20 weeks flexibly over 12 months – which means my wife can now work part time, and on the days she works I stay at home to look after Jordy.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity to take parental leave and would highly recommend it to all the new dads out there. This experience has given me the chance to bond with my son and it has also given my wife the opportunity to return to work, which means she hasn’t had to put her career on hold for us. This is such an awesome initiative by the company, and by far one of the best things about working here.