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Insurance Australia Group Limited : IAG welcomes women back into workforce with double pay

04/15/2012 | 08:54pm US/Eastern

Insurance Australia Group Limited (IAG) today announced it was introducing the most generous and accessible parental leave programme in the Australian financial services industry, with 20 weeks parental leave at full pay.

In an industry first the programme comprises a 14 week initial payment on the commencement of leave with a "welcome back payment" which doubles employees' pay for six weeks upon their return to work.

IAG's Managing Director and CEO, Mr Mike Wilkins, said the programme was in response to feedback around the stresses of combining paid employment and parenting, and 'welcome back payments' aimed to help alleviate some of the financial pressures women face when considering returning to work.

He said the proposal was driven by IAG's commitment to attract and retain quality staff by creating a more family friendly and diverse workplace.

"IAG is committed to creating a family friendly workplace as companies that embrace diversity and flexibility attract and retain high performing individuals and ultimately perform better. As an organisation we are supporting our people at a time when generally, they most need extra financial support and more flexible work options," Mr Wilkins said.

"The Group also has a goal of having one third of all senior management positions filled by women by 2015 and I think this will help us achieve that, by really ensuring we are an employer of choice for mothers and families."

Its programme places IAG at the fore of Australian financial services, with an industry average of around 13 weeks paid maternity leave.

The insurer said it had also addressed the issue of women returning to work on their pre-leave salaries, having missed out on pay increases enjoyed by their colleagues. Research by the Australia Institute finds primary carers can expect to earn about 4% less per hour on average than they would if they did not have a child.

"IAG has also committed to hold remuneration reviews with mothers who are absent from the workplace to ensure pay remains fair and consistent with their colleagues whilst still being based on merit and achievement," Mr Wilkins said.

"This is an innovative initiative we believe to be rare among Australian employers and together with our generous parental leave payments, I believe the programme will give potential employees more reasons to consider IAG as an employer and current employees incentive to stay with the organisation."

IAG's 20 week parental leave programme is on top of the government's parental leave policy of up to 18 weeks support and also offers secondary carers three weeks paid leave.

This programme becomes effective for any of IAG's Australian based employees taking parental leave from 16 April 2012.

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