Oil Search unveils new employee benefit for parents

Oil Search now has a new benefit for employees during periods of unpaid parental leave which are taken to act as the primary care giver.

Australian and Papua New Guinean employees receive Company superannuation contributions during periods of unpaid parental leave. The benefit is available to both female and male employees provided they are the primary care giver.

Mike Herrett, Executive General Manager – Human Resources, believes this benefit is a step toward achieving equality for mums and dads in the workplace.

“Many parents – particularly women – are increasingly aware of the longer-term impact of periods of unpaid parental leave on their superannuation balance at retirement,” explains Mike. “This has been one of the factors which leads to the 'superannuation gap' - where people who take unpaid leave to act as primary care givers end up with significantly lower superannuation balances at retirement than people with similar roles who have maintained superannuation contributions throughout their working lives.

“Oil Search has decided to help address this by adopting a policy of continuing employer contributions during unpaid parental leave.”

Madeleyn Hernandez, Oil Search Drilling Engineering Superintendent, recognises the value of the benefit.

“As a mum who has a longer-term focus on her career, I think this benefit demonstrates a genuine commitment by Oil Search to promoting a diverse workforce. I am pleased to work at a company that is implementing leading, work-life balance and diversity enabling practices.”

In Australia, the practice is leading-edge; in PNG, it is ground-breaking.  

The new policy builds on improvements to Oil Search’s Parental Leave Procedure, which was upgraded in 2013 to provide for a minimum standard of 13 weeks’ paid parental leave and one week’s paid spouse leave.