Designing a desirable parental leave policy for the Montoux crew

Designing a desirable parental leave policy for the Montoux crew

We have just introduced a brand new parental leave policy for our New Zealand team, and People and Recruitment Manager Adela May is super proud to talk about why this was such a priority for Montoux - as well as sharing the process we went through, and the policy we ultimately decided on.

Why having a great parental leave policy is important to Montoux

There were two key reasons why getting this policy right was so important to us. One of my favorite things about Montoux is that we have defined a strong set of cultural values, called The Montoux Way. These values guide our work every day, so it was a big priority to make sure this was true of our parental policy. In particular, two of our values really resonated with this goal; Show up for each other, and Enjoy the ride. We wanted to ensure that our policy demonstrated how much we care for our staff and their wellbeing, and also that it supported them on their return to work so they could keep enjoying their roles both within their growing family, as well as within the Montoux team.

Secondly, we believe that a diverse team is a stronger team, and we need to ensure our policies are inclusive to current and future team members from all backgrounds. A diverse team fosters innovation through different ideas and approaches, it creates a better learning environment through a variety of experience to share - and it leads to some interesting ideas shared in our #cooks Slack channel! We wanted to create a policy that would enable people from all different backgrounds to thrive throughout their journey of growing their family.

Finally, as an extension of the above point, we are fortunate to have a number of women in our wider team, including holding some key leadership roles. A big priority throughout this process was to ensure the policy worked for the women of Montoux and enabled the transition to working-motherhood to be as smooth as possible. OECD data shows that New Zealand is the most expensive country in the world when it comes to the cost of childcare, and we know that having access to affordable, high-quality childcare can be one of the main factors that determine whether working mothers continue their careers.

Creating a parental policy wishlist

We decided that our first company-wide Hackathon would be the perfect place to start this piece of work, for a small group in the Wellington office. Our approach was to spend the day conducting internal and external research to gain an understanding of common parental policies in the market, and most importantly, what our Montouvians really wanted.

We began our research by looking at the parental policies offered at tech start-up companies who are at a similar life stage to us, as we saw them as our peers in the New Zealand employment market. But being an insurtech company, we also looked at large organizations operating in the insurance and financial services markets. Many of our staff have joined Montoux from these industries, so we wanted to ensure that taking a leap into a growing tech company didn’t feel like they were losing out on benefits.

The next step was to conduct focus groups with a number of Montouvians to find out what they would expect from a parental policy; what parts of parental leave are important to them, and what they’d love to see more of. It was really interesting to hear their views, and we realized that different people really valued different things - for some the financial benefits were most important, while others wanted flexibility about when they could take leave. 

After that, it was a case of reviewing all our research and crafting a parental policy that would work best for our team.

What we ended up with

At a glance, our newly introduced parental policy means: 

  • We offer up to 14 weeks worth of top-up payments to our staff that will identify as primary carers
  • We offer up to 2 weeks paid leave and one additional week of unpaid leave to our staff that will identify as secondary carers (noting this exceeds the government requirement of offering 2 weeks of unpaid leave only) 
  • Secondary carers have flexibility of when they take their leave. This can include spreading it out over a period of time by taking one day per week
  • Every staff member on parental leave has continued access to professional development opportunities, salary and performance reviews, and ‘keeping in touch’ days
  • On parents’ return to work, we offer flexible working hours and scenarios so they can continue to structure their working schedule in a way that suits them. We also already offer 10 days sick leave (twice the government standard) and allow our staff to use these days to look after sick children as well

We’re really proud that we can support our staff in this way, and it was great to see our team react so positively to the rollout of the policy. A significant number of our existing team are already parents, and while this particular policy has been created specifically for our New Zealand team, it’s important to Montoux that we can offer flexible options for families as our company grows too. We are committed to ensuring we are creating the best policies we can to support all parents within our company.

Watch People & Recruitment Manager Adela May discuss this new policy with Director of Market Development Catherine Edgar.

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