Accounting firm lets employees take six to 12 weeks off (Stock)
Accounting firm lets employees take six to 12 weeks off (Stock)

Australian accounting company introduces 'life leave' policy that gives employees up to 12 weeks off

Millennial preferences for flexible work environments were a driving force in the decision

Chelsea Ritschel
Monday 18 March 2019 15:01
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A company in Australia is offering its employees six to 12 weeks of “life leave” a year to travel, work part-time, or just enjoy the time off.

In addition to “life leave,” which can be taken in one or two blocks of time, but which is self-funded, accountancy firm Ernst & Young is also implementing two other initiatives: term-time working and temporary part-time.

“Flexible work policies like this are necessary because of increased competition for talent,” EY Oceania’s people partner Kate Hillman said.

The policies, when they go into effect 1 April, will allow employees the option of a part-time arrangement that allows people to work full-time during the school term times, with school holidays off, or the ability to adopt a part-time work arrangement for up to three months.

According to Hillman, the policies are “intended to address a growing demand for flexible work environments in general, not just working parents”.

As well as offering employees the ability to work and pursue other interests, the firm also found that flexibility in the workplace increases employee engagement by 11 per cent.

“We’re innovating so we don’t lose these people while they pursue passions outside of work,” Hillman explained, referencing such opportunities as volunteering overseas, trekking through Nepal, or participating in extended training programmes.

Ernst & Young implemented three flexible work polices 

The influx of millennial employees was also a deciding factor in implementing the company policies, as millennials prioritise flexibility when looking for a job, according to the company.

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“Millennials are also driving demand for flexibility as their preference for diverse and stimulating career experiences overrides traditional workplace structures and timelines,” Hillman said. “By next year, 80 per cent of EY’s workforce across the globe will be millennials, so this is a particularly significant consideration for us.”

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