Flight Centre’s “Australia-first” program allows staff to share sick leave

I am on sick leave sign on the workplace.

Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) has unveiled an innovative new program that allows staff to share sick leave entitlements with colleagues who are in need.

In what is believed to be an Australia-first, the company has introduced a Giving Bank, a centralised pool of donated personal leave entitlements that staff can access in tough times.

Under the Giving Bank program, staff in Australia can choose to donate some of their unused sick leave entitlements to the bank.

Furthermore, fellow employees who are dealing with life-threatening situations or serious illness can draw from it if they have exhausted their own entitlements and are not yet able to return to work.

The program is available from this month and is being administered by FCTG’s Peopleworks (HR) division.

“Unfortunately, there are times when people are faced with extraordinarily difficult situations in terms of their health or wellbeing,” Carole Cooper, FLT’s global Peopleworks leader, said.

“Often in these times, personal leave balances can be exhausted, which can put employees and their families under significant personal and financial stress.

“Our Giving Bank has been created to help make things a little easier and to support our people in Australia when they need it most.”

The Giving Bank concept was included in the enterprise bargaining agreement that was adopted in the Flight Centre and Universal Traveller brands in Australia in October 2018.

Prior to its introduction within the Flight Centre and Universal Traveller brands, it has been expanded to include all staff in Australia.

Eligible leisure sales staff with personal/carers leave balances exceeding 15 days can donate up to three days leave per annum.

Support and corporate travel staff with sufficient balances can donate up to 20 days leave, and donors who subsequently require additional sick leave can apply to have their donated leave entitlements allocated back to them.

To kickstart the program, various FCTG executives, including managing director Graham “Skroo” Turner, have already agreed to donate the maximum 20 days to the Giving Bank.

“We believe this is an innovative program – possibly the first of its kind in Australia – that will deliver huge benefits to people who need an extra helping hand while the overcome injury or illness,” Cooper said.

“We are proud to offer this in addition to the range of existing support options that we provide, including our Employee Assistance Program, our paid parental leave program and our various health and wellness initiatives.”

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