Microsoft New Zealand has introduced a range of progressive leave benefits to allow its employees to spend time with their loved ones when they need it most.

The breakthrough leave policies reflect Microsoft’s moves to embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion by enabling employees the flexibility and freedom to lead meaningful and balanced lives. All employees will be entitled to take the leave as soon as they start work at Microsoft, without having to adhere to the six-month eligibility criteria in place previously.

Among the benefits is a new time-away policy which entitles employees to four weeks’ paid leave per year at 100 percent of their salary, so they’re able to take care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition.

In addition, Microsoft New Zealand has also announced changes to its existing primary and secondary caregiver leave to give new parents precious time at home with their young children. Primary caregiver leave has been increased from six to 20 weeks, while secondary caregiver leave has gone up from two to six weeks at 100 per cent of an employee’s salary. The policy applies to all parents regardless of whether the child is theirs by birth, adoption or a foster relationship.

Microsoft New Zealand Managing Director Barrie Sheers says the changes recognise the importance of family to employees and maintaining a balanced personal life alongside their career.

“We ask our people to bring their best every day to support our mission however we realise that there are times when they also need to be fully present at home and able to dedicate their time to the wellbeing of their loved ones.

“Empowerment has always been at the core of our business and by looking after our employees we’re able to retain and attract amazing talent and give them the flexibility to perform at their best.”

The new employee leave benefits are part of Microsoft’s holistic response to the evolving workplace and the blending of people’s professional and personal lives.

Microsoft New Zealand Human Resources Lead Ebeny Kurz-Firth says, “The way people look at how work fits into their lives is changing. There is no longer a clear line down the middle, especially when you do what you love and that has a flow-on effect to families. Our employees are critical to our success and therefore so are their families.

“We are continually reassessing, refining and enhancing the benefits we provide our employees in a way that recognises their commitment to our organisation and how we can enhance their lifestyles.”