New Zealand Kid looking out into distance

Southern Cross trials school holiday programme initiative to help employees manage childcare juggle

Monday , 3 April 2023 by Sherryl Arneil

Southern Cross Health Society (Southern Cross) has partnered with a holiday programme provider to create a drop-off and collection point for employees’ children at its Auckland office. The idea is aimed at supporting employees juggling parenting and work, as we head into a month where most children will be at school for just eight days.

The initiative follows a bumpy start to the school year due to the Auckland flooding event and further closures during Cyclone Gabrielle, with unexpected extra days off school creating logistical headaches for parents.

Vicki Caisley, Chief People & Strategy Officer, said the business wanted to offer extra support for employees these holidays after the juggle of unexpected school closures earlier in the term.

“We looked at the challenges our people were facing and wanted to make a tangible difference to ease their burden through April. While we offer flexible working arrangements, giving parents an onsite drop-off and pick-up will make a huge difference for some of our people,” said Caisley.

In consultation with employees and a local holiday programme operator, the business has organised a drop-off and collection point at the office, removing some of the logistical challenges that come with working during the school holidays.

“Employees can now keep using their usual mode of transport into work each day to get their children to their holiday programme, work their usual hours, and then go home as they normally would.

“As an organisation that exists to serve our members, it’s crucial that we maintain our high levels of service throughout the year,” said Caisley. “Getting creative to help connect the childcare dots this April not only helps some of our Southern Cross parents after a rocky start to the school year, it also helps ensure our teams can continue supporting our members.”

As well as offering the ease of connection to the school holiday programme, Southern Cross is also partially subsidising the programme for employees wanting to take part.

For Alisha Kidd, Southern Cross employee and mum to Tyler (12) and Mckenzie (9), the initiative will provide welcome relief from previous holidays where juggling children and work commitments adds an extra layer of stress to daily routines.

“Being able to drop the children off at work will make a huge difference to us all, saving an extra 30 minutes at either end of the day. The subsidy has made sending the children to a holiday programme a much more financially feasible option for us - it’s super helpful.

“This will be the first school break in some time where I think my stress levels will actually be reduced,” said Kidd.

The subsidy is also available for a Hamilton holiday programme for parents working in Southern Cross’ Hamilton office.