Updated: 24 August 2023

The ability to spread parental leave over two years and the introduction of gender affirmation leave are among new benefits Australia’s national financial ombudsman service has announced in a new leave policy.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority’s (AFCA) progressive approach to parental leave now allows all new parents to flexibly spread their parental leave out across two years if they wish and increases the paid entitlement to 16 weeks. 

The leave policy also removes the traditional reference to primary and secondary caregivers from parental leave provisions, to support all parents in being able to have time with a new child. In addition, AFCA contributes superannuation during paid parental leave.

The enhanced leave benefits under the new policy also include five days of paid leave in the event of early pregnancy loss, as well as eight weeks of paid gender affirmation leave.

“These improvements will have a profound impact on our people and I’m proud that, as a not-for-profit organisation, we’ve been able to find a way to achieve these sorts of benefits,” AFCA’s Chief Operating Officer Justin Untersteiner said.

“These changes support our ongoing commitment to flexible working and equality and they are great examples of AFCA’s culture of putting people at the centre of everything we do and living our commitment to inclusion.”

Justin role models this as an executive leader, working four days a week to be able to spend more time with his young family. He recently wrote a foreword for the Breaking Dad report by the 100% Project where he explains what a difference working flexibly makes to his family (listen to a podcast interview here).

“At AFCA we encourage our people to take leave to support their health and wellbeing and balance personal commitments,” he said. “We know that allowing leave to be taken flexibly, where possible, can support equality and inclusion.”

AFCA provides free, fair and independent help with financial disputes for consumers and small businesses and their financial firms, in areas such as banking, credit, insurance, advice, investments and superannuation. It employs about 800 people.

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