As you may know, I recently had a baby and came back from maternity leave in October 2022 when she was three months old. As much as I love being a mum, I really missed the mental stimulation (yes, I’m a recruitment nerd), so my other half is on paternity leave caring for her. It’s all made me realise the benefits important for parents.

Just in case you are not aware, I am a Specialist Recruiter within the CA space which means I help Chartered Accountants / Certified Public Accountants and those studying towards their CA qualification. My clients are Public Practice firms and Accounting firms and the roles are within Business Advisory Services (BAS), External Audit, Tax, Corporate Finance, Risk Advisory and Insolvency. Our Accounting & Finance specialist team of five works across New Zealand and Australia in both Professional Services and Commercial/Industry.

Now I’m on the other side of the fence as a parent, I now look at the benefits of Tyler Wren in a very different light. It made me ponder, in an employee’s market, what are the benefits that parents should be looking for or asking about in interviews?

Flexible Hours

I would consider this one of the ‘must’ benefits important to parents! Whether it is a doctor’s appointment, a swimming lesson, or you want to attend their prizegiving ceremony, time is precious. So having the flexibility to start earlier in order to finish earlier or make up the time is a no-brainer.

Some examples of interview questions:

Hybrid Work Environments

After March 2020, working from home is one of the most common expected benefits across the board. There is so much value in working from home a few days: It breaks up the week, you can get a sleep in instead of the commute and also I personally find I’m more productive when working from home. Not to mention the housework you can squeeze in during breaks and have a cooked lunch!

Some examples of interview questions:

  • What is your current policy on working from home?
  • Once I’m up to speed, when can I start to work from home?

Breastfeeding Friendly 

This might be rudimentary but having a meeting room, where you can feel comfortable pumping and also somewhere to store your breastmilk, is important. It is a legal requirement for your employer to provide appropriate facilities so there’s no shame in asking about this.

Some examples of interview questions:

  • What support do you offer your staff who choose to breastfeed and pump?
  • What storage facilities do you have within the firm for any pumped milk?
  • What’s your strategy on breaks for pumping?

Extended Paid Parental Leave

The government pays the primary carer for up to 26 weeks and must be taken in one continuous period. Depending on the firm, a few have added on top of the government’s parental leave by topping up to their current salary up to 52 weeks.

Some examples of interview questions:

  • What is your current parental leave policy?
  • What do you provide above and beyond the standard parental leave payments?

Office Culture that embraces Parenting

Back in the day, some parents would say they had an appointment instead of saying the real reason which might have been parent-teacher interviews. It is a soft benefit that can be hard to quantify and is at the heart of the firm’s culture. This comes from the top, by being a living example and/or letting staff feel comfortable not hiding the fact that you’re a parent.

  • How many members of the senior leadership team are parents?
  • What examples can you share about specific times/ways the firm has supported working parents?

At the end of the day, different things work for different people and not all parents are going to want the same benefits. I for one am grateful for the endless support given to me from pregnancy to birth to returning to work. Some days I come to work fresh and other days my daughter wakes up four times in one night which is when I order a strong coffee.

I know not everyone is in the same boat and it is imperative to be supported, so you can be your best self, personally and professionally. Feel free to reach out for a confidential chat so we can talk through your current situation and I can let you know which firms offer the benefits that are important to you.

Tasha Toehemotu

09 930 9827