THE Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT) has expanded its range of parental perks.
Just weeks after announcing a nation-wide deal with childcare group Goodstart Early Learning to help parents return to the workforce, the company has now unveiled a paid parental leave program to ease some of the financial strain on new mums and dads.
Carole Cooper, the general manager of FLT's Peopleworks (HR) division, said the new offerings were part of a range of new benefits that had been introduced to create a more flexible working environment.
"Given that we have a young workforce, we rely heavily on parents and they play a crucial role in our business," Ms Cooper said.
"We feel it's important that we offer mums and dads the support they need as they start families and raise their children and we are working to create an environment that eases some of the pressure that parents typically experience.
"The parental leave program is a key addition to our overall benefits program and will help minimise the financial strain on new parents when they take time out from the workforce to spend valuable time with their babies.
"Then, when the time is right for parents to resume their careers, the Goodstart agreement will make it easier and more affordable for them to re-enter the workforce in a full or part-time capacity.
"We are also creating support networks for parents while they take time out, with Keep In Touch programs now operating in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and plans in place to expand into other cities."
Under the new maternity leave program, FLT will offer an additional six weeks' pay to all new mums or dads - whoever is the primary caregiver - on top of the Federal Government's 18-week Paid Parental leave scheme.
The Goodstart program, which is already in place, gives FLT's employees priority access to childcare positions and reduced rates at the group's 641 centres throughout Australia. Discounts vary from centre to centre, based on capacity and waitlists, but typically range from 5% to 15%.
"The extended parental leave program means that our people will receive up to 24 weeks' financial support, while the childcare program with Goodstart can potentially deliver thousands of dollars worth of savings each year to parents with children in full-time care.
"This is in addition to other new initiatives that we are introducing or formalising, including work from home, job-share, compressed weeks and flexible rosters."
The new scheme will be applied across FLT's corporate brands including Corporate Traveller.
FLT's specialist youth brand, Student Flights, has also introduced an unlimited annual leave program for its travel agents in Australia.
The company employs more than 10,000 people in Australia.