Baby foot

29 March 2019 Kate Palmer

Leading engineering and design consultancy WSP Opus is again challenging the status quo, introducing a progressive parental leave policy.

Until now, the 149-year old company’s provision has been in line with government policy. Ian Blair, WSP Opus Managing Director, says that simply wasn’t good enough.

“Becoming a parent is an important moment in life – I should know, I’ve done it four times. As an employer that values its people, it’s vital that we provide proper support to our people through what can be an exciting and equally challenging, time,” says Blair.

“We go to great lengths to attract, develop and engage the best people to be part of our WSP Opus team, so it makes good sense for us to look after parents, both in those first weeks as a family and on their return to work.”

Last year WSP Opus closed a 7.5% gender pay gap, one of the first business’ in New Zealand to do so. At the same time a Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group was established to jump start and manage initiatives.

Blair says that through this work, the advisory group identified room for improvement around parental leave. 

“Talking to our people through focus groups we realised that we could do a lot better, especially if we are to keep pace with contemporary New Zealand. I’m delighted that we’ve introduced this and strongly believe it’s the right thing to do.”

WSP Opus parental benefits, which took effect on March 8, include:

  • A top up of government-funded leave to full salary for 22 weeks
  • Provision of two weeks Paid Partner Leave
  • Enhanced value of annual leave upon return from parental leave
  • Flexible return to work arrangements

Any parent can access these benefits – regardless of gender – should they choose to be the primary caregiver.