Employee wellbeing driving ACFA’s sweeping leave policy changes

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) aims to attract and retain the best talent by improving its employee benefits programme.
By: | September 25, 2023

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) has introduced an array of enhancements to its leave policy, with a focus on employee wellbeing and diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

One significant change allows AFCA employees to opt for flexible public holiday arrangements. They can now exchange recognised public holidays such as Australia Day, Easter, Anzac Day, and the King’s Birthday for alternative days of cultural or religious significance or personal convenience.

To better support First Nations employees, the dispute resolution organisation has instituted five days of paid Sorry Business Leave. This provision supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees dealing with the loss of a loved one and is accessible from the first day of employment on a per-circumstance basis.

Another addition is Women’s+ Health leave, offering five days of paid leave to female employees and those with female reproductive organs who do not identify as women. This benefit addresses various health needs across different life stages, including menstruation, fertility care, endometriosis, and menopause. AFCA has also extended support for early pregnancy loss, increasing paid leave from five to 10 days per occurrence. For pregnancy loss occurring beyond the first 20 weeks, employees or their partners are entitled to 18 weeks of paid leave.

One AFCA employee shared, “The new leave benefits are monumental in so many ways. As an immigrant, woman, and a member of a minority community in Australia, I have never felt so heard or seen.”

READ MORE: Standard Chartered improves parental leave policy

Parents at AFCA now enjoy an extended paid parental leave period of 18 weeks, up from the previous 16 weeks. These changes come just over a year after AFCA updated its leave policy, removing references to primary and secondary caregivers and allowing parents to spread their parental leave over two years.