Viva Energy Australia, the exclusive licensee to the Shell brand in Australia, has become the first company in Australia to offer employees a full-time superannuation payment of 12 per cent of base salary for up to five years during unpaid parental leave and part-time-work periods.
Viva Energy CEO Scott Wyatt says he is “immensely proud” of the new policy and has called on corporate Australia to look at ways in which it can help parents – particularly women – to overcome systemic financial disadvantage in retirement resulting from taking time out of the workforce to have children.
“While the new policy applies equally to men and women, we know it will make a lifetime’s difference to the retirement savings of female employees who traditionally take extended time off to have children and often return to work part time,” Mr Wyatt said.
“When I became a Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Pay Equity Ambassador, I pledged to encourage other business leaders to recognise the importance of pay equity.
“I hope our new policy inspires other businesses to be innovative in working on the challenge within their own companies if a gap exists.”
Mr Wyatt says investing in the future of employees, besides being the right thing to do, also makes sound business sense.
“It provides another incentive to attract and retain high-performing staff while enabling them to manage work-life responsibilities across an extended period,” he said.
WGEA Director Libby Lyons says she strongly supports Viva Energy’s policy initiatives.
“Taking time out of the workforce to care for children should not have any impact on an employee’s economic security in retirement,” she said.
“As women still carry the disproportionate share of society’s caring responsibilities, the statistics tell us that they also accumulate significantly less retirement savings.
“Viva Energy is to be congratulated for taking these positive actions to substantially improve the retirement balances of their employees who are also working parents.”