Diageo introduces 26 weeks paid family leave in policy overhaul

Beverage giant Diageo has announced 26 weeks paid family leave for its Australian employees to support better inclusion and diversity in its workforce.

The company policy applies to all regardless of gender, carer status or length of service.

Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes said in a statement on Thursday that the new family leave policy will allow employees to “focus on the joy of raising a young family, while continuing to thrive at work, and ensuring all employees are supported to have time with their new child regardless of where they live and work.”

The beverage company said it applies a flexible work culture so employees can prioritise and have a work life balance. It also gives significance to creating opportunities and gaining fulfillment in their jobs.

Diageo Australia was named Employer of Choice by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) in 2019. Diageo has no gender pay gap and its Executive Committee is 40 per cent women while its Board is 44 per cent women.

“This is a huge step forward in supporting our people and fostering greater inclusion and diversity for every Diageo Australia employee. We’re moving the conversation on from ‘women having children’ to ‘people raising families’,” David Smith, managing director at Diageo Australia said.

“This is about removing barriers to career progression and ensuring talent is retained and nurtured. If these sorts of policies are more widely adopted in society, it can be a real game changer for shared responsibilities, getting women who want to, back into work earlier and giving men more time to enjoy the experience of being a new parent.”

According to WGEA data, in 2015-16 paid primary carers’ leave stood at 10 weeks across all industries.

“Our data shows that access to employer-provided paid parental leave has not improved over the last five years. We need to change this and give proper choice to both female and male employees in Australian workplaces,” Libby Lyons, director at WGEA said.

“Access to parental leave helps women to stay in the workforce and progress their careers and helps men to be more involved in their family life and in raising their children. I congratulate Diageo for implementing their new parental leave scheme and I hope it encourages other Australian employers to follow suit.”

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