Parental Leave Toolkit


Becoming a parent is a life-altering responsibility, and for many, the thought of taking time away from a hard-earned career can be daunting.  With this in mind, Alcoa has developed a simple, inclusive and innovative way to bridge the gap between work and family life and make parents feel valued, even while they’re outside the workplace.


As part of our ongoing effort to set the gold standard for inclusive workplaces, we surveyed employees who were pregnant, on parental leave, or had recently returned and found there was still more to do to engage and support.

Key findings:

  • 19% of supervisors were not staying in touch, resulting in feelings of isolation and anxiety
  • Biggest challenges were childcare, time management, guilt and confidence
  • 85% thought a quarterly networking/support forum would be beneficial
  • Most wanted to receive communications on business/team updates, company news, careers bulletin.

The Parental Leave Initiative addresses these findings and assist managers and employees to align their expectations before, during and after parental leave.

Managers are now provided with a comprehensive toolkit to guide them through each stage, including ‘staying in touch’ checklists, targeted advice from HR and access to a ‘Return to Work’ database to share best practice across sites about flexible options.

At the heart of the initiative is the ‘Mums’ n Bubs’, which acts as an information exchange and support network for soon-to-be, new and returning Mums. The quarterly forum is sponsored by the Managing Director who welcomes attendees and presents updates and insights into the ever-changing business environment, and it’s a great opportunity to new Mums to feel connected and ‘wanted’ by the business, as well as share parenting and return to work tips.


Since 2014, Alcoa of Australia has achieved a 100 percent success rate of women returning to work after maternity leave. 


Narelle MacFarlane


At Alcoa, we believe we have a responsibility to provide an inclusive, safe and supportive environment for every employee driven by our value to Care for People. We need every single heart and mind actively participating in what we do — encouraging us to think in new and different ways. By creating an inclusive workplace culture, and being committed to diversity and development, we give employees the best opportunity to succeed professionally at our company. As the CEO of Alcoa Corporation, I am honored to add my name to the signatories of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge.

Roy Harvey
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