Inclusion at NAB

NABs Parental Leave Program – Genius or Just Good Business Sense!

With an increasing number of Australian businesses spending time weighing up the pros and cons of introducing and/or expanding diversity policies, the NAB has taken a more proactive approach to dealing with things by making its 12 week paid parental leave entitlement more accessible to new dads and non-birth parents.

The bank says the move was made in response to findings from Part 1 of the NAB’s Work and Family Survey on Work and Family Dynamics, which was based on a sample of more than 1000 families with children.

The survey showed that while two thirds of mothers are primary carers of children, 60 per cent of dads said they would like to spend more time with their kids and 45 per cent said they would like to have a greater role in caring for children rather than working full time. Just 25 per cent of couples reported that they shared the primary caring responsibility evenly.

The NAB doubled paid parental leave for primary carers from six to 12 weeks in 2006, however, owing to the fact most primary carers are female, most male employees were unable to take advantage of this entitlement.

Michaela Healey, NAB Group Executive, says while women still appear to be carrying a greater share of domestic responsibilities, the research challenges traditional gender stereotypes.

“Every family is different, but the presumption that mothers are exclusively looking after the children and running the household is clearly outdated in the modern family.

“Parenting is not a women’s issue, it is a parenting issue. Everyone has the right to a challenging and rewarding career – and a key part of supporting women to realise their potential lies in enabling men on the domestic front.

“We need to take gender out of the equation when it comes to flexibility at work, by extending the same conditions to men and creating a culture where they feel they can take them up,” she said.

NAB employee Mike Seymour, dad to four month-old Arthur, plans to take advantage of paid primary carer’s leave when his wife Yas returns to work later this year.

“Yas’ parental leave will expire when Arthur is just over 10 months old. By staying home, I can share more of the parenting load and we won’t have to put him in to childcare until he turns one,” he said.

“It will be great to get some much-wanted time with Arthur, as well as help Yas transition back to work and resume her career.”

NAB has a strong history of early adoption when it comes to policies which strengthen diversity and inclusion and the group’s diversity policy clearly articulates its objectives and motivations:

“It is critical that we attract, recruit, retain and develop the best talent. We cannot afford to ignore a segment of the talent pool – whether we are talking about women, mature workers, those with disabilities, indigenous Australians, recent migrants or graduates. New market-leading ideas and perspectives require new thinking and we believe a diverse and inclusive workforce is the key lever behind such thinking. For NAB diversity also means having an employee base which matches the geographies, customers and communities within which we serve.”

“It is not sufficient to bring together a diverse mix of people; it is about having a culture (and leadership) that engages and unleashes their full potential in the workplace. We already have a diverse workforce comprised of different people with different experiences. These differences include age, gender, disability, ethnicity, marital or family status, religious or cultural background, sexual orientation and gender identity. Diversity does not address how these different people function or work – this is inclusion. Inclusion enables us to strive to have all people respected and valued, not just for their abilities, but also for their unique qualities and perspectives to realise diversity of thought.”

The NAB says its diversity and inclusion strategy is aligned with business strategy in order to recognise the changing needs and expectations of its customers and shareholders. The three imperatives of the strategy are inclusion, life stage and gender equity. These are underpinned by two key enablers: leadership and flexibility.

In line with best practice recommendations, NAB’s Executive Leadership Team has direct accountability for execution of the diversity and inclusion strategy and is kept up-to-date on progress by senior executives.

It would seem diversity and inclusion policies are having a very positive effect at the NAB, recent reporting shows that in September last year 57 per cent of the group’s employees were women and 30 per cent of the executive positions were held by women. In addition the NAB received a WGE Employer of Choice for Women Citation, a new award recognising organisations which are leading the way in gender inclusive practices.

For more information on the NAB’s Diversity and Inclusion Policies click here.



This Better Workplace Bulletin was first published in March 2015