In a move recognised as industry best practice, Australia’s leading independent law firm, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, today announces it is now making superannuation contributions to employees during both paid and unpaid parental leave.

This new change in policy will see Corrs make contributions for a period of up to 12 months to employees taking either paid or unpaid primary carers or secondary carers leave. Corrs provides 18 weeks paid leave for the primary carer and three weeks for the secondary carer, again legal industry best practice.

The new approach to superannuation contributions will be applied from 1 July 2018.

Corrs CEO Gavin MacLaren said, “This initiative is a positive step towards achieving pay equity.

“Payment of superannuation during periods of parental leave can make a significant difference to the retirement savings of employees who take time out of work during their careers to care for children. This is particularly true for women who are more often the primary caregivers during periods of parental leave.”

Mr MacLaren recently became a Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Pay Equity Ambassador, joining a number of Australia’s top business leaders who have signed the Agency’s Pay Equity Pledge as part of an undertaking to address the issue and drive for change.

“I am committed to achieving gender equality in the workplace and, along with the firm’s leadership, will continue to ensure it is recognised as a priority within the firm,” he said.

“Ultimately, a supportive and inclusive culture generates a diverse, engaged and high performing workforce.”

Director of the WGEA, Libby Lyons, commented, “The retirement savings gap in this country means that women retire with an average 40% less superannuation than men.

“Women should not incur a lifelong financial penalty for taking time off work to care for family. Corrs Chambers Westgarth is to be congratulated for taking this important step to improve the superannuation savings of their employees who are also working parents.

“The fact that women shoulder the burden of unpaid caring work in our society is a major contributor to the gender pay gap, which currently sits at 30% in the legal sector. Only concerted action from employers will drive this figure down. By becoming a Pay Equity Ambassador, I’d like to thank Gavin MacLaren for taking action on pay equity and promoting the issue in the broader community,” Ms Lyons said.