ANZ has broken new ground in the financial services industry after announcing it will award most staff an extra week of paid annual leave.
The decision, which will apply to more than 25,000 Australian and international employees of the bank, takes effect from the end of the company’s current financial year.
ANZ is the first member of the S&P/ASX 200 index to award staff an extra week of so-called “loyalty leave”.
The new entitlement will be offered to staff in 24 countries who have racked up at least three years of service at the bank.
ANZ’s decision to widen leave entitlements was made outside of the bank’s enterprise bargaining negotiations with the Finance Sector Union.
Group head of talent and culture Kathryn van der Merwe said the move follows an international trend where many organisations are offering greater workplace flexibility to “better engage and energise staff”.
“Regular annual leave is essential as it allows our people to spend time doing what’s important to them personally, as well as to rest and recharge,” van der Merwe said.
“While we considered a number of potential enhancements to various employee benefits, annual leave is a core benefit that is relevant to all permanent employees, regardless of seniority, gender, or status as a parent.”
An ANZ spokesperson told Banking Day that around 67 per cent of the bank’s current workforce would be eligible to receive loyalty leave this year.
The bonus week of holidays will cost the bank up to $50 million a year given that 25,000 staff are in line to receive the entitlement and are grossing weekly earnings at or above the national average of $1600.
ANZ is also using loyalty leave to manage balance sheet liabilities by working down the accrued holiday entitlements of employees.
Staff will only be able to take the extra leave if their accrued balance of holiday entitlements does not exceed four weeks at the end of September each year.