Caltex Australia has today [26.9.2012] announced a ground-breaking initiative for Australian workplaces that will help provide the financial and practical support new parents need to return to work after caring for a newborn child.

The initiative includes 3% quarterly bonuses to a primary carer once they return to work (a total of 12% of base salary per year inclusive of superannuation).

For a primary carer employee earning $75,000 a year, this would equate to $9,000 of pre-tax income to help offset costs such as childcare up until the child's second birthday.

Highlights of Caltex BabyCare initiative:

•3% quarterly bonus (a total of 12% per year on base salary inclusive of superannuation) to a primary carer once they return to work to help offset costs such as childcare up until the child's second birthday

•Up to $1,500 of emergency childcare through the Dial-an-Angel service

•Specialist assistance to help parents identify appropriate childcare providers

•Introduction of nursing mothers' facilities at major Caltex workplaces from 2013

Caltex Australia Chairman Elizabeth Bryan said the BabyCare initiative complemented the company's existing policy of paid parental leave.

"Returning to work after caring full-time for a newborn baby can be a challenging time both emotionally and financially for our employees," Ms Bryan said.

 "The package that Caltex has announced today provides these employees with both the practical support and flexibility to make the transition easier. Caltex benefits as experienced, skilled employees return to work and contribute to the company's business success."

Caltex's Group Manager for Employee Relations and Diversity, Marie Irwin, said she believed the package was the first of its kind in Australia.  In addition to the Caltex BabyCare Bonus the initiative will include Emergency BabyCare - free access to emergency nannies and mothercraft nurses for the times when new parents need additional support at short notice.

"Support will also be available from "Work-Life Links" to assist parents identify suitable longer-term childcare options upon returning to work," Ms Irwin said.

In other related news,  the amendments to the Federal Government's paid parental leave scheme that allows employees on unpaid parental leave to take their keeping in touch days without affecting their NES entitlements take effect on Monday (October 1).