Zurich Financial Services Australia is aiming to usher in 2021 with an improved version of itself – not only has the insurer moved to the spanking new Zurich Tower, but it has also rolled out a family care policy designed to reflect the diversity of families in today’s society.
“We wanted to ensure that we are standing by our commitment to create a fair, diverse, and inclusive workplace for all employees,” head of human resources Sue Maher (pictured) told Insurance Business. “So it’s something over a period of time that we’ve wanted to make our family care policy attractive for males and females, and certainly then it’s progressed to being further than that.”
Based on insights provided by employee resource groups within Zurich, the new policy takes into consideration all different circumstances – a progression from the traditional parental leave policy that is predominantly centered on a mother having a child. Aside from birth, Zurich’s family care policy spans into Vitro fertilization, surrogacy, adoption, as well as stillbirth and miscarriage.
“The PrideZ group represents the LGBTQ interests and played a role in helping to shape the inclusive nature of the policy, particularly in relation to surrogacy and adoption,” noted Maher, who pointed to the integral contribution of employee representation and feedback.
Benefits-wise, a major shift from the company’s old policy is the inclusion of superannuation contributions, on unpaid leave for the primary carer, for up to two years. “This is really about trying to address the superannuation gap often experienced by women,” said the HR head, “who take time out of the workforce and then they fall back behind in their superannuation contributions.”
Particularly happy with that feature is the Women’s Innovation Network, Zurich’s employee resource group which provided information about flexibility during the consultation process and policy development.
Highlighting the importance of the new policy, which offers benefits not only to primary parents but also to co-parents, Maher told Insurance Business: “The family care policy is a key milestone in our broader Australia and New Zealand diversity and inclusion strategy. And it illustrates the direction that we want to head in, to create a brighter future together.
“Since launching this policy, I’ve personally received thanks from employees who are proud to work for an inclusive employer like Zurich.”
Moving forward, the HR head said that among the things they’re looking at is securing external accreditations such as the WGEA (Workplace Gender Equality Agency) employer of choice for gender equality. Zurich will also continue to grow its female talent pipeline while maintaining the organization’s focus on three pillars – flexible work, gender equality, and inclusive culture.