Gender Equality Case Study: Cotton On Group

Case Study

(5) Support for caring

(16) Mainstream flexible working

Initiative Description

At the Cotton On Group, we take a values-driven approach – putting our People First, always. We’ve identified that we’re a workforce made up of 80% of team members who identify as female, and we know that when we support our people in all aspects of their lives they will thrive, evoking high engagement and performance. Our “Family and YOU” benefits program seeks to support our working families with a range of benefits including:

  • Flexible working arrangements
  • School holiday programs (Kids CO)
  • Phased return to work from parental leave (Returnity, The Loop, Baby and YOU packs)
  • Childcare centre
  • Celebration of parental milestones
  • Ability to purchase additional annual leave.


We ask our people twice a year to check in with us to share feedback and how they’re feeling, enabling us to uncover their needs and develop initiatives to support them. Some of the key things acting as the driving force behind our initiative were:

  • A general desire for a more flexible approach to work/life balance
  • A call for a focus on DE&I across the business
  • A need for more focus on mental and physical wellbeing
  • Parents struggling with the work/life juggle
  • Angst around working through school holidays
  • Confusion with the parental leave process.


  • Supporting our people with their individual needs when it comes to flexible working (hours and locations), allowing them the autonomy to deliver in a way that fits with their life
  • Building the right partnerships and strategies to bring our team members and their loved ones physical, mental, social and financial support 24/7
  • Developing a wellness centre for our GSC teams and remote wellness support for our Global teams
  • Dedicated car spaces for pregnantteam members closer to the buildings
  • Dedicated pregnancy classes offered at the wellness centre
  • Continuing development of our parental leave process, requesting frequent team member feedback to better the experience
  • Ethics Committee discussions and determinations to minimise gender stereotyping in our products and marketing
  • Celebrating International Women’s Days – featuring female leaders within our global leadership team
  • Seeking new and innovative ways to close the gap that are designed specifically for our people and set us apart from our competitors.


  • Feedback from our people continues to be incredibly positive
  • Rise in key people metrics
  • Engaged and invested team
  • Increase in feeling of representation and belonging
  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • Team taking entitled annual leave, in addition to applying for further leave.

Lessons Learnt

  • Ask your team for their feedback continually, and listen to what they’re telling you
  • Always have an Ever Better mindset, continuing to challenge what you’re doing
  • Be ready to adapt to change quickly and pivot in another direction
  • Be ready to trial your ideas, starting small and taking them big when they work
  • Be led by our values and encourage having the real conversations.



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