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paid maternity leave: alcoa ahead
New figures, released this month by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) and Alcoa of Australia, show that still only  53.4% of organisations* provide paid maternity leave. This represents a 17.8% increase since 2003.

The data were collected from 2500 organisations, representative of over one million Australian women.  As an EOWA recognised ‘Employer of Choice for Women’, and as part of Alcoa’s commitment to promoting equal opportunity and more diverse workplace, Alcoa part-funded the EOWA research.

“Alcoa’s return to work rates following maternity leave are high at around 90%, and data tells us that our ability to offer part-time arrangements for women returning from maternity leave has had a significant impact on the retention of women,” Alcoa’s Director of Talent, Learning and Development Jann Kinsela.

“Alcoa has always been supportive of diversity in the workplace, with the company’s paid maternity leave provisions just one example. We offer 13 weeks paid maternity leave and 1 weeks paid paternity leave, as part of up to 24 months leave from work after having or adopting a child. This well exceeds current government requirements, as well as the average duration of paid parental leave which is 9.9 weeks.”

Lisa Mills, Alcoa Anglesea’s Mine Environmental Scientist, said: “With my first lot of maternity leave from Alcoa, I returned to work part-time, three days a week, seven hours per day.  With my second lot of leave, I also returned part-time, firstly one day per week for a few months and then up to two days a week – that remains my current arrangement and I’m also job-sharing now which is working out really well.”

Rachel Mottram is Pinjarra Refinery’s Business System Manager and has also taken maternity leave twice, having worked for Alcoa for over 13 years. “After my second child I returned to work with a great deal of flexibility including varied start and finish times and working from home arrangements.” This made all the difference to being able to transition smoothly back into full-time work,” Rachel said.

Adele Peters, Executive Assistant at Wagerup Refinery said: “Without a doubt, Alcoa is the best employer I have worked for in terms of conditions and flexibility. Sometimes you need time off to care for your child due to sickness, and you must be able to take that time without feeling guilty or anxious about your employer’s expectations.”

“Flexibility, equality and providing career opportunities for women are critically important for well functioning communities, and it’s research like EOWA’s which helps sign-post the way for companies and communities to progress,” Ms Kinsela said.

Read stories from Alcoa women who have benefited from paid maternity leave and Alcoa’s flexibility policies.


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Adele Peters from Wagerup Refinery with her daughter


Anglesea employee Lisa Mills and her family


Point Henry employee Jill Delaney and her two girls


Pinjarra Refinery’s Amy Henderson with her husband and son