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'Thank you, ANZ' - Fully-paid parental leave policy gives growing family the best start

James Buckwell Masefield, his wife Erica, and their children.

James Buckwell Masefield, his wife Erica, and their children.

In a tight job market, with unemployment at very low levels, a new father to twins says competitive parental leave policies are vital to attract and retain talent - while also helping to nurture the next generation.


ANZ New Zealand Senior Product analyst James Buckwell Masefield and his wife Erica recently welcomed twin girls to their family, but before their arrival, they looked into their respective parental leave options.


“Some quick research informed us that while most people in New Zealand are only eligible for a maximum of $621 per week (before tax), ANZ reimburses the difference to match your full pay,” James said.


James was entitled to six months of parental leave on full pay, while his wife was able to take unpaid leave and also stay at home.


“This meant that, financially, my partner and I have both been able to stay home and better balance the child-parent ratio,” James said.


“Importantly for my partner and I, we have felt human - despite being severely sleep deprived - we have had far more time, energy and love to give to our little family."


“I genuinely believe that parental leave policies can have a big impact on the future of our tamariki, and therefore our future New Zealand.”

- James Buckwell Masefield
ANZ New Zealand Senior Product Analyst



James and his wife also joined a “multiples” support group – for parents of twins, triplets or more – and said he felt incredibly grateful at how well they were coping, compared with some of the other parents whose husbands returned to work after a few weeks.


After posting his thanks to ANZ on LinkedIn (which has now been viewed almost 500 thousand times), James was also interviewed on RNZ’s The Panel programme, where he reiterated the need for more companies to consider their parental leave policies.


“An outcome from having these conversations is just to get people talking and thinking, societally, what else can we be doing differently? Are there other ways we can be helping people?” he said.


James said he was mindful that a child’s outcomes are improved dramatically dependent on the amount of love and positive interaction they receive within their first few years – something he’d learned from Neuroscience Educator Nathan Wallis.


In a video for nib Health Insurance, Nathan said “the reason why the first 1000 days are so crucial, is basically because we found out in the 1990s that your outcomes are not just determined by your genes.


“In the first thousand days of your existence, being from conception to 1000 days after that, your genes are interacting with the environment to see what sort of brain you’re going to need for the rest of your life.


“So what can we do in those first 1000 days to maximise that?


“Well, the research tells us the number one thing you can do is to have a parent stay at home in the first year of life,” Nathan said.


“It’s really just about you being present with your baby, interacting – interaction is one of the most complicated things that the brain does, so the more that your baby gets of that in the early years, the better all their outcomes are.


“So if you’ve got paternity and maternity leave, I suggest taking all of that, because the early years are so crucial.”


Meanwhile, apart from creating a better start for his children, James said he feels appreciated and valued by his employer.


“We feel incredibly lucky to be able to give our full attention and care to our daughters during these first 6 months thanks to ANZ,” James said.


“Ever since benefitting from this arrangement, I have been singing ANZ’s praises as an employer.


“I feel absolutely looked after and valued - consequently, I have had multiple people reaching out asking about vacancies.


“In a competitive job market, perks like these can make the difference when choosing who to work for, and how long to stay with them.


“Thank you, ANZ, for setting the bar high, and for supporting my little family, we will be forever grateful.”



Salary Top-Ups


ANZ makes top-up payments for 26 weeks to eligible employees of an amount equal to the difference between their ordinary salary and the amount paid to them by the Inland Revenue Department under the government's parental leave payment scheme. 


Annual leave entitlements and superannuation


Eligible employees also accrue annual leave during parental leave. Employee and employer contributions to KiwiSaver continue during the period of parental leave in which an employee receives parental leave assistance payments from ANZ.


To help mitigate the effects of parental leave on an employee’s long term retirement savings, ANZ provides employees who make contributions to KiwiSaver during the period of paid parental leave, a lump sum employer contribution to their KiwiSaver account for the period of unpaid parental leave.


Family Leave


ANZ provides employees who are to become a parent with two weeks of paid family leave, whether they are the primary carer or not. This can be taken within three weeks prior to the employee becoming a parent up until the child’s first birthday.


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