A Central West mining company is making inroads for a more inclusive workplace for women and mothers returning to work, bringing it inline with the Each for Equal theme of Sunday's International Women's Day.
Newcrest Mining's Cadia Valley Operations runs a Diversity and Inclusion Program that with 21 smaller programs including a Parental Leave Program and a Non-Working Mining Mums program.
The mine currently has 116 female employees and 102 permanent contractors out of a total workforce of 1054 Newcrest employees and 367 permanent contractors.
Senior mining engineer Allison Metcalfe is one of seven women in the Non-Working Mining Mums program, which enables her to work flexible hours to maintain a balance between work and family.
"I started on the program in 2017 after having 10 years off working as a mining engineer to be a full time mum," she said.
"I started back on two days a week and have slowly increased my hours to four days a week that I split over five days.
"This gives me the flexibility to be able to work around school drop offs and pick ups and after school activities."
Cadia acting general manager Aaron Brannigan said the Non-Working Mining Mums program was developed to support and encourage women back into mining who had left the workplace to have children and all particpants have so far continued in the industry.
Mr Brannigan said some of the women had moved to Orange since having children, others lost touch with their workplace networks, and some were looking for flexibility to balance the other aspects of their lives.
There were also 11 women and four men, including those still at work but taking leave in the near future, in the Parental Leave Program.
Mr Brannigan said a Parents and Bubs program also helped those employees to keep in touch with the workforce through a quarterly morning tea.
"While the Parents and Bubs program has traditionally been utilised by females, our parental leave program is offered to both men and women and a number of our male employees who have opted to take paternal leave are also benefiting from this initiative," he said.
Cadia has also developed a purpose-built lactation room for nursing mothers to express and breast milk so mothers had more choices on when to return to work and the option to continue breastfeeding.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below: