At VFMC, we are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture that provides our team with the opportunity to be their best and deliver on the VFMC strategy. We want our people to feel confident bringing their whole selves to work, and to feel supported in both their personal and professional goals.
A commitment to being a family friendly workplace aligns with the VFMC values and vision, our commitment to social responsibility and our efforts to retain, engage and attract the best talent.
We understand there isn’t a one-size fits all approach and therefore have an expansive and contemporary definition of family to support the diversity of our team. At VFMC, family can mean a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, friend, co-parent, or neighbour; essentially anyone our people regard as their chosen family.
We also understand that peoples’ needs, goals, and preferences will continue to change and evolve. That’s why we have a comprehensive range of policies, procedures, and tools to support peoples’ growth at all life and career stages.
Family Friendly Leave Options
• We recently increased paid parental leave for primary caregivers to 16 weeks. Partners can take four weeks
paid leave in conjunction with the birth, adoption, or placement of a child, and then an additional 12 weeks
paid leave if they assume primary caring responsibility within the first year.
• We maintain employer superannuation contributions for up to 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave (on top of
standard contribution payments on the 16 weeks paid leave and any other paid leave taken in conjunction
with parental leave).
• We’ve introduced new flexible options for scheduling parental leave, with parents now able to take up to 30
days on a flexible schedule in periods of a single day or longer.
• Our 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.
Grandparent and Compassionate Leave enhancements
• We recently introduced one week of paid leave for grandparents to assist with care of a newly born or newly
• We have expanded the criteria for accessing Compassionate Leave to make it available in the event of a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Return to work support for new parents
We provide paid return to work coaching through our partnership with Parents at Work, to ensure returning team members feel confident and comfortable coming back into the workplace. Our office also includes a beautifully appointed, private Parents Room with a couch, table and chairs, appropriate sink and power facilities, and dedicated fridge for expressing and storing milk.
Comprehensive tools and resources
In partnership with Parents at Work, we provide an information hub to support our teams in creating the right balance between work and family life. The hub provides information, podcasts, courses, case studies and stories from experts in the career, family, and well-being space to support a range of different caring situations, whether that’s looking after a newborn or adolescent children, supporting elderly parents or friends, caring for a loved one with a disability or a serious illness, or providing any other type of support.
Hybrid Working at VFMC
We recently launched our VFMC Hybrid Working Playbook to further support our teams to balance their unique family needs. The playbook aims to capitalise on everything we learnt about flexible working during the pandemic; challenging us to question how we empower our teams to thrive no matter where they are working. Hybrid working at VFMC is based on nine principles, one of which is that we value all forms of flexibility equally – we care about how to best manage flexibility together, not about what our people need the flexibility for.
At VFMC we pride ourselves on involving our people in potential changes through a culture of feedback. Considering diverse perspectives helps us ensure the work experience we provide to our people aligns with their needs and gives our people the opportunity to share their own great ideas.
We invite our people to provide feedback through multiple survey and workshop opportunities each year, and run collaborative, cross-team design sprints for initiatives like our approach to hybrid working.
Our commitment to being a flexible, family-friendly workplace has been warmly received by our people, especially as we move toward our new hybrid working arrangement.
In our most recent employee survey, 88 percent of people indicated they feel genuinely supported if they choose to make use of flexible working arrangements and 91 percent of people said they feel able to arrange time out from work when needed.
One employee shared, “In my working career, VFMC is the fourth organisation that I have worked for and by far the best at supporting flexible working arrangements, culture and work life balance.”
Being a family friendly workplace means we enjoy all the benefits of a truly diverse and inclusive culture. We have a highly engaged and high performing team that delivers against our purpose and our strategy in a flexible way that also meets their needs. We also have a strong value proposition for prospective team members wishing to join a progressive organisation that supports both their personal and professional goals.
Toby McMillan – Senior Portfolio Manager
VFMC’s paid parental leave program afforded me the two-step benefit of invaluable time with our newborn son (Jonny), then later, the flexibility to support my wife (Sarah) to re-enter the workforce after a five-year hiatus.
I was fortunate enough to initially access four weeks of paid parental leave, flexibly spread over the first two months following Jonny’s birth. This was invaluable given we were now a family of six (four boys under 8!) and this greatly assisted our adjustment to this new paradigm.
Then, just prior to Jonny’s first birthday, Sarah was successful in obtaining a 0.2FTE role in her chosen field of Allied Health Education. With the support of VFMC, I arranged to access part of the remaining balance of my 16 weeks paid parental leave entitlement by taking every Monday off for the remainder of the year (20 days in total, spread over five months) to be Jonny’s primary carer.
This flexible arrangement perfectly suited our family dynamic by providing Sarah the opportunity of re-entering the workforce, alongside the countless benefits of me being able to spend quality time with my four children, including with Jonny over the first year of his life. VFMC’s policy certainly helped Sarah and I forge a stronger relationship together through sharing the load of our busy household and providing Sarah the professional opportunity to continue her career outside of being “Mum”.
Furthermore, I’ve been working in a flexible arrangement (two days worked from home) for close to five years following our family’s relocation to regional Victoria in 2017, so this, combined with the parental leave possibilities at VFMC have greatly enhanced our quality of life, which undoubtedly contributes to being a more healthy, productive, and engaged employee and individual.
Lucy Carr – VFMC’s Chief Risk Officer
My dad passed away in the same year that my mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My sisters and I found ourselves in a new situation where our once fiercely independent and highly social mum needed of a great deal more support from us. This included taking on responsibility for her financial affairs, negotiating appropriate in-home care to allow mum to stay in her home, as well as the emotional toll of seeing someone you love deal with the frightening impacts of dementia.
Overlay nearly two years of lockdown and a bunch of restrictions that were very hard for mum to understand – let alone comply with – and we found that we were dedicating a lot of time to managing mum’s affairs and keeping her feeling connected to her friends and family.
I am lucky to have two sisters – both of whom live locally, we get along well, and we all contribute equally to supporting mum – but the impact of the caring responsibilities was still challenging when mixed in with our own busy lives.
VFMC’s approach to flexible work has made it so much easier for me to be help mum when she needs it. I know I can rely on my leader and my teams to support me when I need to alter the hours of my work or the location of work to be with my mum. From attending medical appointments with her, to being Helpdesk Support as she participated in online bridge games with her friends, to meeting tradespeople on site to explain the idiosyncrasies of her house – without VFMC’s genuine support of flexibility, I would not be able to juggle my responsibilities at work with my family obligations and continue to be a senior leader.