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Westpac Introduces In House Childcare

Westpac Becomes The First Bank In NZ To Offer In House Childcare Facilities For Staff

Westpac has this week signed an agreement with the NZ subsidiary of ABC Learning Centres Ltd to establish childcare centres for its staff in three New Zealand locations, including Auckland. The centres are due to be up and running in the middle of next year.

This undertaking by Westpac makes them one of the first major corporates in NZ to put in place such facilities in-house and is part of the bank's vision of ensuring that cost effective childcare facilities become a reality.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the agreement, CEO Ann Sherry said that employer childcare centres using an external provider to provide childcare services was an offering not provided by other financial services organisations in New Zealand, but that Westpac was making the move as a response to a call for childcare centres from its staff.

"Over the last couple of years we consulted extensively with staff and their feedback has showed that having a childcare facility close to or en route to work will help employees to balance work and home life, and support Westpac's staff retention goals in what is a tight labour market," said chief executive Ann Sherry.

The centres will be operational in mid 2007, opening in the bank's Cashel St location in Christchurch, Plimmer Tower in Wellington and an Auckland location currently under discussion. Once these centres are established additional childcare centres in other locations will be considered. All together further entrenching Westpac's commitment to corporate responsibility

There will be 75 childcare places in Wellington and 75 in Christchurch centre and the Auckland centre will be at least this size too. To date, more than 238 Westpac children have joined the waiting list for the three centres, demonstrating the high level of demand for these facilities.

This week's announcement follows a ruling by the Inland Revenue Department giving clarity to the arrangement proposed by Westpac, under which the Westpac-owned facilities are managed by ABC Ltd.

"This is the first time such an arrangement has been put in place in New Zealand, hence the need for a binding ruling from IRD. The ruling provides greater certainty about likely childcare costs, and allows Westpac to get on with delivering the childcare facilities our staff want," Ann Sherry said.


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