Being a parent or a carer is one of life’s biggest journeys. At IFM, we want our parents and carers to feel supported, connected and engaged with their colleagues and the business, in a way that works for them and their family. The needs of each of our families are unique, and we want to create an environment that supports these needs so that parents and carers can thrive both personally and professionally.
In 2019 we removed service requirements to accessing paid parental leave, with all new joiners being able to access 13 weeks of paid parental leave within their first year of employment. In February 2021, we announced the removal of gendered references from IFM’s Parental Leave policy (e.g. removal of “primary caregiver”), with equal access to the full suite of paid leave options available to all eligible employees. Parents can now also take their leave concurrently with their spouse, should that be a preference.
In November 2022 we increased the IFM paid parental leave benefit in Australia under our Enterprise Bargaining Agreement from 18 weeks to 26 weeks. We have also extended the eligibility criteria to include surrogacy, as well as foster and kinship arrangements where placements are for greater than 12 months. Our pre-natal leave was also expanded to cover surrogacy and adoption. We also offer leave options for shorter term foster and kinship care arrangements.
In May 2021 IFM implemented a hybrid working model called ‘Our Ways of Working’. In this hybrid model, our employees work from home on agreed days, as per their team’s ways of working agreement and/or through a flexible working agreement to manage their individual circumstances. Our hybrid working model has been designed to maintain in person connection and collaboration, while also allowing our people the flexibility to manage responsibilities in their personal life, including family and carer responsibilities. Individual flexible working arrangements can also be made on an informal ad-hoc basis, or they may be made on a formal basis for an agreed period of time.
Below are some of the flexible work arrangements offered at IFM:
Remote Working Policy
IFM has put in place a Remote Working policy, to support our people who would like to travel domestically or internationally, providing them with the ability to continue working for some of the time they are there. This flexibility allows employees to spend longer periods of time with the people and in the places that are important to them.
With regards to parental leave, there has been a positive response to the removal of the primary caregiver reference and allowing all eligible parents to utilise the parental leave benefit. We have seen an increase in the number of male employees taking advantage of IFM’s paid parental leave, resulting in a balanced gender split among the employees taking parental leave. During financial year 2018 – 2019, we had a parental leave gender split of 71.4% female and 28.6% male. In the 2021-2022 financial year, we had a gender split of 48.6% female and 51.4% male. We have also seen an uplift in the average months spent on parental leave for male employees.
Our employees have responded well to our ‘Our Ways of Working’ hybrid working model. In 2022, we asked our employees to share their views about our hybrid working model in a short survey. We had a strong response rate with 435 people sharing their views, roughly 54% of our global population. Results indicate that our hybrid working strategy is supporting a positive working environment and employee experience, with 83% of respondents telling us that they value IFM’s ‘Our Ways of Working’ hybrid model.
Remote Working Policy:
Since the implementation of the remote working policy on 1 June 2021, a total of 185 employees have completed at least one period of remote work, with many of these employees opting for multiple periods of remote work. Below are quotes from two employees who shared feedback regarding the remote working policy.
“As a single person with no family here in Australia, I am very grateful that working remotely from my home country was permissible. This allowed me to spend more time with my aging mother after two years of lockdown due to Covid. I am extremely happy that IFM offers this kind of benefit to all employees. A couple of weeks of work from my parents’ home in the Philippines may be too short for others but for me, it is more than enough time. IFM is truly a Family Friendly Workplace offering flexible work arrangements whether here in Australia or overseas.” Janice Rivera, Security Analyst, IT
“Due to the Covid pandemic, I had not been able to visit my family in Ireland for three years. However, thanks to IFM’s remote working policy, I was able to extend my stay in Ireland in December and spend extra time with my loved ones, including my niece and nephew, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the very first time.” – Patrick McNamara, Analyst, Risk & Compliance
To ensure the well-being and engagement of our employees, we believe it is essential to implement practices and policies that support family and caregiving responsibilities. These programs also support our brand as an attractive employer in the competitive market for talent. At IFM, the core of our Inclusion & Diversity strategy is to create an inclusive culture that enables all our people to bring their authentic self to work and contribute their best. We understand that our people have personal lives and caring responsibilities that do not cease throughout the workday. Working to ensure that our employees feel supported in their professional and personal lives is essential to our business. In our experience, this undeniably contributes to a positive and productive workplace culture.
Mohammed Khelil, Senior Associate – Strategy & Policy team, described his parental leave as a great opportunity to experience first-hand key milestones in his son’s development.
“This time allowed me to be involved in every aspect of caregiving, which helped to build my confidence and abilities as a father, as well as my capacity to be a supportive partner.”
“We were able to come together as a new family and really understand how we were going to make this new way of living work for our family, something I would not have been able to do without the leave.” said Mohammed.
In the past few months, Mohammed’s family has joyfully welcomed a new addition to the family. Now a family of four, Mohammed looks forward to taking parental leave once again, as he and his partner embrace the unique challenges that come with caring for two children.