Law firm Buddle Findlay kicks The Motherhood Penalty

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21 March 2023

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Law firm Buddle Findlay kicks the motherhood Penalty and offers support packages for staff with new ‘bundles’ of joy.

Above image source : Raconteur

Supporting their people to thrive is a key priority at Buddle Findlay as it launches its market leading package for parental leave and whānau support, helping kick the Motherhood Penalty.  The new approach seeks to create gender equity, supports families before, during and after going on parental leave, and provides coaching to both leaders and employees with families.  

Recently the Buddle Findlay partners confirmed a set of commitments and a progressive package that supports parents and their whānau.  The commitments include ensuring people at Buddle Findlay can thrive at work, and to support them in their career aspirations; the focus is on removing (and not creating) barriers to their growth. 

Buddle Findlay has dug deep to understand the motherhood penalty and recognised there are four key ingredients required to support its parents and whānau.  They are financial, a focus on gender equity, independent coaching to support transitions and decision making, and supportive and empowering leadership.   

Image of Charlotte von Dadelszen at Buddle Findlay
Charlotte von Dadelszen

The resulting new market-leading package is bedded in research, consultation and collaboration.  Charlotte von Dadelszen, Buddle Findlay board member and chair of the firm’s diversity and inclusion committee, says “We know how hard it can be to be a parent and maintain your career, and the research tells us this is more challenging for women. 

We’ve developed a more equitable parental leave policy, allowing for both parents to take time away from work and play an active and primary role in the care of their child.  We worked hard to listen to our people and respond to what they were telling us.  The partners are really proud of the new package and entitlements, and genuinely believe it reflects the importance Buddle Findlay places on supporting our people and their whānau.”  

What’s in the package to help the Motherhood Penalty?

The package is underpinned by clear leadership expectations, return to work planning and budget relief.  It includes 26 weeks of paid leave for parents while they undertake the primary care of the child and can be taken within the first 24 months of the child being born.  Buddle Findlay will also provide four weeks paid partner’s leave, and again, this can be taken within the first 24 months of the child being born.  The hope is that this will result in the responsibility for childcare being shared more equitably between the parents.  

Buddle Findlay is also ensuring that when its parents take parental leave, KiwiSaver contributions continue, and holiday pay is at full value on return from leave.  In addition, Buddle Findlay will be offering one-on-one coaching and a suite of online resources for both parents and leaders through an external provider. 

The coaching is available prior, during and on return from parental leave, and supports the transition in and out of parental leave as well as navigating some of the complexities that come about later in parenting.  Resources are available for parents, caregivers and the firm’s leaders and provide information on a wide range of topics including flexible work practices, self-care and resilience, career growth, elder care and parenting skills. 

Buddle Findlay manager, people and culture, Margot Elworthy, was one of the first to benefit from the new policy.  “The package has allowed us to focus on what’s important and put everything in to giving Bowie the best start,” says Margot.  “It means we can enjoy the special moments and time as a whānau with less pressure while away from work.  I am grateful to Buddle Findlay for giving us this opportunity, and all the people at Buddle Findlay who shared their experiences during the process.  I am looking forward to returning to a workplace that wants the best for their people.”  

Mark Mulholland, senior associate, has benefited from the increased focus on gender equity, and commented “It has given me the opportunity to spend much more quality time with my daughter while also enabling my wife to continue developing her career.  The paid parental leave policy has been really positive for our family.”

The new policy came into effect on 1 January 2023. 

Related article: The Mothers Load In The Work Place.

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