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Westpac enhances parental leave policies for employees, introduces premature birth leave

8 September 2021

Westpac has today announced enhancements to its parental leave policy to better support employees, including paid parental leave up to 16 weeks (up from 13) for primary carers, and the introduction of special paid parental leave for premature birth.

This additional support for premature birth means if an employee has a pre-term birth (before 37 weeks), they will be entitled to special paid parental leave in addition to the standard parental paid leave.

Westpac Group Executive Human Resources, Christine Parker, said: “Pregnancy is an exciting time in people's lives but can also bring challenges, especially for families with a pre-term baby.

“This additional support for premature birth is about helping our people during this challenging time before they start their parental leave entitlement.

“We know everyone’s experience with pregnancy is different, and as a major employer we want to make sure we’re providing the best support to parents and carers in important life moments,” Ms Parker said.

According to the Miracle Babies Foundation, an organisation which supports premature and sick newborns and their families, every year more than 48,000 newborn babies in Australia require the help of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or Special Care Nursery.

Miracle Babies CEO, Kylie Pussell, said: “Westpac is leading the private sector by introducing premature birth leave and we warmly welcome this initiative. It’s so important that parents can be with their premature babies who often require specialised care in their early stages of life, and having employers with supportive leave policies can really help to lessen the burden on families.”

The enhancements to Westpac’s parental leave policy, which are effective 1 October 2021, include:

  • Increased paid parental leave from 13 to 16 weeks for primary carers
  • Increased paid parental leave from 3 to 4 weeks for support carers and an extension of the period when they can take the leave from one year to two years
  • Special paid parental leave entitlements for premature birth until the 37th week

In July, Westpac announced the introduction of five days of paid leave for people who experience early pregnancy loss in their first 12 weeks.

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