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WPP has introduced a new parental leave guideline for its agencies in Australia after revamping its talent retention and attraction policy.

The new policy will see employees paid up to 16 weeks full salary depending on length of tenure.  After just one year of service, employees will be offered 12 weeks full pay.  Secondary carers will be provided four weeks full pay after two years of service, and two weeks after just one year.

WPP said the changes, which will come into effect from 1 January 2019, was developed after benchmarking Australian industry standards and teamed with a close examination of what its staff needed and wanted. It will only be applicable to its Australian agencies, with plans for New Zealand agencies to adopt it in the future.

It expressed its belief that the new policy is ‘among the best in the industry’ and is part of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as making sure everyone has the chance to balance work and family.  Ultimately, it hopes employees will see WPP as a long-term career option that is supportive through all different phases of life.   

“As an industry, we are losing talented, strong and experienced people to other sectors, because they may not see it as either family friendly, or a viable long-term option,” said Mike Connaghan, chief executive officer of WPP AUNZ.

“This needs to change.  We need to recognise that to have a truly diverse workplace, we need to have people from a variety of backgrounds, and life stages.  We need to ensure that our people have every opportunity to balance work, family, and other responsibilities.

“The time to act is now, and as an industry leader, we are proud to take this initiative.”

The new talent policy also includes a company-wide diversity and inclusion survey to benchmark expectations, the introduction of a bespoke training programme called The Academy, the introduction of MyTime (a flexible working arrangement), the use of alternative recruitment arrangements to ensure a diverse workplace including Career Seekers, Career Trackers and Talent Rise, and Walk the Talk; a WPP initiative to help women grow and thrive in their careers.