Commonwealth Bank to offer child care as part of new wellbeing program for staff

8 June 2006

The Commonwealth Bank is to offer its staff a range of initiatives aimed at helping them better balance work, life and care responsibilities.

The enhancements to the wellbeing program for Bank staff will complement existing family friendly arrangements and flexible work practices currently provided through arrangements such as maternity, paternity, adoption and carer’s leave, job share, working from home and career break.

A key element is the availability of child care places for children of Bank staff. The Bank is also establishing nursing mothers’ retreats for staff or their visiting partners and babies.

Additional flexibility in working arrangements will be introduced by offering staff the option of extending maternity, paternity and adoption leave on half pay, as well as by purchasing up to four weeks extra leave per year.

CEO Ralph Norris describes these benefits as some of the most significant to support Bank staff in the past decade.

"The Commonwealth Bank is dedicated to helping all our staff realise their full potential. Part of that involves giving them a sense of wellbeing and supporting them in caring for their children," Mr Norris said.

"The Bank encourages flexibility and diversity in the workplace by having practices that recognise and are responsive to the needs of staff at different stages of their working life," Mr Norris said.

The Bank has entered into arrangements with ABC Learning Centres and Jigsaw Corporate Childcare. Initially, child care centres will be established in Doonside, NSW and Chadstone and South Melbourne in Victoria. Plans are in place for the progressive rollout of additional sites in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Parramatta and Sydney in coming months. The Bank is also in discussion with the child care centre providers about other suitable sites in South Australia and Western Australia.

The Bank’s wellbeing program includes a series of workshops to enhance the general health of its staff, focusing on the need for regular exercise, a healthy and balanced diet and balancing work with family life.

Staff are to be offered a free health assessment every two years.

In addition, Bank staff will have access to information and support in the area of family care and health services. The national Work|Life Links service is available to all permanent staff and directly employed casuals at no cost to them. Work|Life Links provides information and support in the areas of care facilities and vacancies, transport and various other care arrangements for dependants – be they children, teenagers, adults or older relatives.

Carers Australia is an association for relatives and friends caring for people with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition or who are elderly. A package developed by Carers Australia, providing information, referrals, support and resources will be promoted for the benefit of staff with care responsibilities.

"We have more than 30,000 staff, some of whom are caring for loved ones with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition or who are elderly," Mr Norris said.

"By doing this we can make sure our people are provided with practical information in the form of advice and support material such as carers’ support kits and fact sheets."

Mr Norris said that to achieve the Bank’s vision to become Australia’s finest financial services organisation, one of the critical drivers is to engender a culture of trust and team spirit.

He said today’s announcement is an important step in demonstrating the Bank’s continued support of its staff.



For more information, contact:

Bryan Fitzgerald
General Manager, Media and Issues Management
Phone: (02) 9378 2663 / Mobile: 0414 789 649