Kiwibank introduces quarterly wellbeing days and expands leave benefits


Designed to support the health and wellbeing of its people, Kiwibank has expanded leave benefits for more than 2,000 permanent and fixed-term team members.

Expanded Supported Leave, which is a more flexible alternative to sick leave, and Quarterly Wellbeing Leave, comes into play for employees of the New Zealand-owned bank on 1 July 2022. In addition, the purpose-led organisation has extended Bereavement Leave to five days and adjusted its Better Off Leave formally known as Volunteer Leave to encourage more staff members to utilise the benefit for the good of the community.

Kiwibank Chief People Officer Charlotte Ward says the B Corp organisation balances purpose and performance.

“We are a place where employees can make an impact, belong and thrive. We celebrate diversity in every aspect of life, and we are proud of our inclusive and supportive culture. Presently we are tackling some of the most exciting, ambitious, and impactful work in the finance sector and in Aotearoa. Our work is challenging and rewarding but even then, we have recruitment and retention challenges in some areas of our business.”

To explore where it could do better Kiwibank asked for feedback on the sorts of things their people look for in an employer.

“A few decades ago, job security was the priority for most people, and it wasn’t uncommon for people to stay with the same employer for their entire career. Fast-forward to the present day, and people have incredibly diverse wants and needs. Job security, remuneration and career progression are still very important, but there’s so much more that people consider when they’re thinking of joining an organisation, and staying – everything from culture, purpose, social responsibility and diversity, equality & inclusion to fulfilling work, development opportunities, flexibility, and leadership – and a whole lot more in between,” Ward says.

“Flexibility, which we put a lot of focus on, is top of the list but also vitally important are other benefits, like our new leave offerings, that support employees, their whānau, and communities.

“Our extended Supported Leave is a simpler, more flexible kind of leave that encompasses traditional Sick Leave, Compassionate Leave, and Domestic Leave in one offer. It means people can take as much leave as they need, when they need it, provided this is genuine and within reason.

“Supported Leave provides cover if you’re sick or injured, suffer from a serious or ongoing illness that requires a bit more time off work than normal, if you need surgery followed by recovery time, or if you have dependants who rely on you for care if they’re sick or injured including family pets. It also covers leave for gender affirmation, menstruation and menopause.

“Our people have shared stories about how Supported Leave is going to take a lot of stress away and will make a real positive difference to them and their whānau, which is wonderful to hear,” Ward says.

“Wellbeing Leave is a day our people can use to recharge however they want to. To ensure we are taking time for ourselves on a regular basis, the day needs to be used within the quarter it’s allocated, so what we’ve labelled a ‘use it, or lose it’ benefit. We’ve told our people to look it as is a guilt-free day to use when they feel they need a day off but are not necessarily sick.”

The bank also has a generous parental leave package which includes topping up Government paid parental leave to full salary for 26 weeks, a lump sum KiwiSaver payment equating to $50 per week of unpaid leave; a $1,000 'baby bonus' for mums and dads; and four weeks' 'baby bonus' leave for primary and secondary carers that can be used anytime within two years. Primary carers are credited this on return to work and secondary carers just before the due date.

On top of salary, Kiwibank also saves its people money and provides peace of mind with matching KiwiSaver contributions up to 4% and, for permanent team members working 16 or more hours per week, fully subsidised Wellbeing One medical insurance through Southern Cross and free Kiwi Cover (life cover of 2x salary, capped at $1m; it also offers free trauma cover of $10,000 for people aged 18-64).

Read more about Kiwibank staff benefits.