Fuel giant Caltex has found a simple but effective way to boost the number of women returning to work after having a baby.
All primary careers who work for Caltex receive a 3% bonus each quarter after transitioning back into the workplace from leave.
The policy has been in place for three years now and aims to help offset the costs of childcare for parents.
The helping hand has paid off, with Caltex reporting a 25% increase in the number of women returning to work in the past three years.
The policy has also led to an increased retention rate, meaning the bonuses pay for the themselves, according to Fairfax.
Caltex’s head of performance, Alena Mackie, said it is equally important for businesses to focus on helping new parents transition back to work as it is supporting them while on parental leave.
“Our analysis shows that new mothers are not only returning to work at Caltex, but choosing to stay with us once they do,” Mackie said.
Parental leave has been a hot topic over the past few years, with businesses such as Aldi attempting to lure talented employees with attractive benefits for new parents.
So what can small businesses do to encourage new parents to come back to work?
Penny Spencer, founder of Spencer Travel, told SmartCompany this morning the best thing small businesses can do to entice new parents back to work is offer them flexibility.
“The travel industry is predominately female,” Spencer says.
“I’ve had 20 odd staff go on maternity leave. Probably bar one, they’ve all come back and the reason for that is flexibility. I’ve always been open to the fact that – regardless of whether it’s the first child or the second child – they need to have extra flexibility around their hours or days they work. Having been a mother myself, I understand that. So I’m always prepared to work with them.”
Spencer says she has also offers financial assistance to her employees and points out while small businesses won’t necessarily be able to follow Caltex’s lead and be able to afford a 12% annual bonus, there are still other measures that can be taken that will eventually pay for themselves in the long run.
“Other things I’ve done in the past is offer assistance with support, so offers to pay a portion of their childcare or a portion of a shared nanny,” Spencer says.
“I get a lot of, ‘oh, don’t be silly’, but the reality is if they have no family support or their parents live overseas … that is the only option [for them to come back to work].
“When my staff go on maternity leave it’s an absolute loss to the company as they’ve generally been with me for a long time and they’re great at their job. So, of course, I want them to come back.
“It does pay for itself in the long-run because of the recruitment fees and the amount of money you put into training over the years.”