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Anastasia Schutz, Commercial Superintendent for Whitehaven’s Gunnedah Open Cuts, with daughter Adelaide.

Whitehaven Coal has announced industry-leading changes to its Paid Parental Leave Policy that will support new parents to spend more time with their young children.

The changes, which came into effect this week, are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to fostering the wellbeing of employees and their families.

Key highlights include:

  • Increasing paid parental leave from 18 weeks to an industry-leading 26 weeks for the primary caregiver, including superannuation contributions
  • Two weeks paid parental leave for the secondary caregiver, including superannuation contributions
  • Superannuation contributions will be paid on the unpaid portion of an employee’s parental leave

Whitehaven Coal Managing Director and CEO Paul Flynn said the policy changes are an exciting and important move that will have a significant positive impact for new parents.

“Whitehaven has always strived to be an industry leader when it comes to looking after its people and I’m incredibly proud of the way we support and respect each other in the workplace,” said Mr Flynn.

“We know balancing work and family commitments can be a challenge in any workplace but this policy recognises the important role our company can play in helping working parents when children are little.”

Anastasia Schutz, a Commercial Superintendent for Whitehaven’s Gunnedah Open Cuts, is set to benefit from the new policy later this year.

“While on maternity leave after having my first child in January 2021, senior leaders facilitated a role change that has allowed me to stay with the company while reducing travel time and accommodating child care needs,” she said.

“Our family will be growing again later this year, and the new parental policy – particularly the superannuation contributions – will be lifechanging for my family, and for my career when I return to work in 2023.

“I am so proud to work for a company that recognises the needs of women in the workforce and is putting their money where their mouth is in terms of implementing policies that do just that.”

Mr Flynn said the policy was part of a broader commitment to diversity and inclusion that will set Whitehaven apart from competitors in an environment where competition for local talent is intensifying.

“Apart from being the right thing to do, this new policy will provide a significant point of difference for us and help us attract and maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce, something which will be a key to our future success.”

“The change to paid parental leave represents just one of the steps we are taking towards increasing female representation across our workforce. Women accounted for 19% of new hires in FY21 but we still have a lot more work to do to.”

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s a great time to reflect on the progress we’ve made so far but also to refocus and continue to push for greater diversity and inclusion in our workplaces.”

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, employers in the mining and resources sector have made some of the biggest improvements in offering paid parental leave over the last eight years, with 78% of workplaces in 2020-2021 offering paid parental leave to the primary carer above and beyond the Federal Government’s mandated 18 weeks.

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