The aged care industry was well represented in the Victorian Government’s Fair and Flexible Employer Recognition awards with two providers included among the 16 winners.
Statewide aged and disability services organisation Villa Maria and Wangaratta provider St John’s Village were both recognised at an awards ceremony last week.
“Villa Maria has a commitment to fairness and equity and we strive to make a meaningful difference to people’s lives,” said Villa Maria’s CEO, Valerie Lyons.
“It is a reality of life that personal needs from time to time clash with work needs.
“To address this, we have put in place flexible work arrangements to help minimise the inevitable stresses that these responsibilities can place on individuals.”
The organisation has a range of flexible employment arrangements including job sharing, the ability to work from home in certain roles, carer leave, six weeks of paid maternity leave and a phased return-to-work policy.
It also provides 48/52 leave, allowing staff to take four extra weeks of unpaid leave each year while receiving 48 week’s worth of pay throughout the year.
Ms Lyons said Villa Maria is committed to finding new ways to engage its employees and improve their work-life balance.
St John’s Village supports its permanent part-time workers by negotiating with them about their availability to do additional shifts.
“We have vacant shifts from time to time because of things such as absences and we have a clear understanding of who is available when we contact them,” said CEO Joe Caruso.
“It helps them in terms of their work-life balance and their personal planning.
“We also work with our staff to provide the flexibility to meet their family requirements, in terms of attending functions for their children or to meet their own family caring needs.”
Mr Caruso said the awards enabled the sector to tell potential employees about the benefits of working in aged care.
“Ultimately it is important for us to inform the community that we do work with our staff and support them in their work-life balance,” he said.
“We need to let people know that we are caring and supportive of our staff.”
Victoria’s Minister for Industrial Relations, Martin Pakula praised all the award recipients for their dedication to their workers.
“I commend the recipients for implementing initiatives in their workplaces that care for their employees,” he said.
“Companies throughout Victoria are recognising the growing need to become more flexible to cope with the changing workforce that is becoming largely populated by parents and older workers.”
Other winners included Melbourne University, the City of Melbourne and Western Region Health Centre which provides housing and legal support to older people in Melbourne’s western suburbs.