As Auckland Airport grows workforce to power infrastructure build, families are prioritised

22 August 2023

  • New parental leave policy tops-up primary carer government-funded rate to 100% of salary for 18 weeks
  • Partners receive six weeks paid leave (statutory entitlement is up to two weeks unpaid)
  • Primary carers receive continued employer KiwiSaver contributions, and on their return to work, five additional days of leave

Auckland Airport has overhauled its parental leave policy as it scales up its workforce to deliver its major infrastructure programme.

Auckland Airport’s Chief Corporate Services Officer Melanie Dooney said the organisation’s workforce grew 24 per cent over the 2023 financial year to 579 people, as the company rebuilt following the pandemic. Looking ahead, Auckland Airport is set to see its greatest increase in infrastructure and operations-based roles to support a once-in-a-generation upgrade of the airport.

“After the delays created by the pandemic, Auckland Airport is once again underway with a series of important projects that are core to the airport’s future resilience, supporting New Zealand’s economy, and improving the travel experience for customers,” Ms Dooney said.

“We want to offer people a great place to work that supports their family lives too, including when they transition to parenthood. So, we’re thrilled to be providing increased support through our new parental leave policy.

“We also want to see more women working in operations and infrastructure, and we’re hoping our new parental leave policy will help to remove some of the barriers that currently exist.”

The new parental leave policy includes primary carer top-up payments on the government-funded rate to 100 per cent of salary for 18 weeks; six weeks paid leave for partners (Auckland Airport pays the two weeks which are statutorily unpaid, plus an additional four weeks); continued employer KiwiSaver contributions of 3 per cent to primary carers; and on the return to work, five days of family leave for primary carers to use for any reason connected with their new child.

Auckland Airport’s executive leadership team is currently made of up of 50 per cent females (as at 30 June). Further to this, about 40 per cent of Auckland Airport’s operations’ roles are currently filled by women, with fewer in the infrastructure team at 19 per cent.

Ms Dooney said Auckland Airport is actively recruiting 32 roles in infrastructure as work transitions from the planning and design phases across many of its projects into construction and delivery, and there are 25 roles currently available in operations.

“To achieve our work programme we are in the market for a wide range of skill sets – everyone from field engineers to project managers to health and safety advisors. Our ambition is to ensure diversity across all parts of our business, and seeing more women in infrastructure and operations roles is a key part of this.

“Women are incredibly effective in front-line roles and in construction, however, the aviation industry is currently under-represented by females, particularly where there is shift work involved or where roles can be dynamic and unpredictable.

“It’s certainly not without its challenges but we want to make it easier for women to take up these positions allowing them to balance work and home life. Aviation is such a rewarding career.”

Sahar Algharaibeh, a Business Support Co-ordinator in Operations at Auckland Airport, who is expecting her first baby in November 2023, will be one of the first at Auckland Airport to benefit from the changes to the parental leave policy.

“I was all set with my planned maternity leave for later in the year and I was so pleased when I was told I would be getting additional support with the new policy,” she said.

“I’ve worked in the operations team for seven months now and this new policy means I'm eligible for the benefits. It will be a big help for my family and it’s great to see the business adopting these practises.

“Taking time off as a new mum will be special and is something I am looking forward to. It’s comforting to see there's a good process for a smooth transition back to work.

“I’m truly grateful and proud to work at an extraordinary organisation that genuinely values its employees and I hope other staff in the industry can have similar positive experiences,” Ms Algharaibeh said.

Auckland Airport is committed to supporting its people on their journey as parents by providing them with both additional financial support – beyond that prescribed by the New Zealand Government – as well as ensuring the transition into parenthood, and subsequently back to work, is as easy as possible.

Auckland Airport is proud to offer the following benefits under the Parental Leave Policy for its eligible employees (in addition to the above):

  • 32 hours (four days) of Special Paid Leave prior to Parental Leave: Statute allows for 10 days unpaid leave which can be used for pregnancy-related reasons by a primary carer, partner or spouse. Auckland Airport allows its people to take 32 hours / four days of this as Paid Leave or to use this to gradually reduce working hours in the four weeks prior to taking parental leave
  • Primary Carers Graduated Return to Work: Auckland Airport provides Primary Carers with 32 hours (four days), which the employee can use to transition back into work by taking this time as leave over the first four weeks back at work.
  • Career and Salary Progression: Auckland Airport ensures the career and salary progression of those taking parental leave is not impacted. Pregnant employees are considered for new roles irrespective of how close to the end of the pregnancy they are, or how long they plan to take leave for. Also, employees on parental leave will be included in any remuneration review that takes place.

To start your career at Auckland Airport, head to Careers | Auckland Airport


Notes to Editors

Images available for download – of Sahar Algharaibeh:

For further information, please contact:


Laura Platts

[email protected]

021 040 5859