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30 Sep 2021

Building a safe, inclusive and accountable culture #People

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Since Scentre Group was established more than seven years ago, we have focused on building a culture that sets us apart. Developing policies that bring our diverse and inclusive workplace to life is a key part of this.

One of the key topics and issues that is included in these policies is our zero tolerance to sexual harassment. 

Last month the Commonwealth Government passed the Respect at Work Amendment Bill which addresses issues of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Our CEO, Peter Allen, has been a member of the Champions of Change Coalition (CCC) since 2015, one of the men stepping up beside women on gender equality. He was recently interviewed by the ABC about some of the issues that came out of the Respect@Work report as well as recent government legislation. 

You can read the full article here.

Peter said Scentre Group takes a zero tolerance policy to sexual harassment in the workplace and this is reinforced in our employment contracts, our Code of Conduct, our policies and how we operate our business. Some of the more recent changes to our employment contracts that include sexual harassment were made following the CCC’s Disrupting the System Report.

“We take a zero tolerance approach on sexual harassment because we operate as a responsible business and it’s simply the right thing to do for our people. But we also have an ambition to be the place for talent to thrive, and to attract and retain the best people, we need to offer the best culture and opportunities,” he said.

There are other policy changes we’ve made – informed by the great work of our Diversity and Inclusion Council employee-led working groups – that contribute to creating a safe and inclusive environment for our people, recognising the support that our people may need when faced with some of the most challenging circumstances in their lives.

For example, in 2020, we joined the Stillbirth Foundation Australia Corporate Registry and updated our parental leave policy to offer a week’s paid leave to an employee who experiences a miscarriage. 

In 2020 the updates to our parental leave policy included:
  • Extending Secondary Carer Leave to 4 weeks (from 2 weeks)
  • Extending the allowable default timeframe to take parental leave from 12 months to 18 months and to request an extension up to two years
  • Reducing the qualifying service requirement for paid parental leave from 12 months to 6 months
  • Broadening the policy to specifically cover support for instances of still born, premature birth, IVF treatment and foster care/adoption
  • Continuing service recognition - long service leave and personal leave (while on unpaid leave)
  • Superannuation continues for the full parental period regardless if it is paid or unpaid
  • Extending our return to work coaching to secondary carers.
In addition, we have a domestic violence leave policy that includes: 
  • 10 days of additional paid personal leave for victims of domestic and family violence, increased at managers discretion dependent on the individual circumstances.
  • Support measures include flexible work arrangements, relocation to suitable employment within the workplace, additional EAP support sessions for the employee and affected family members and access to legal assistance, funds for emergency or temporary housing, financial advice and medical support.
  • Safety measures can be put in place in consultation with the employee and include changes to working hours or the pattern of hours worked, changes to duties and/or job location, unlisted phone numbers (safe and protected phone line to seek help) or an additional handset and changes to telephone numbers or email addresses to avoid harassment.
Our work to build a safe, diverse and inclusive culture has been recognised by WGEA as an Employer of Choice, we’re a Gold Employer in the Australian Workplace Equality Index and we’re also one of ten Australian companies included in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender Equality Index.