MSD Australia is proud to announce a significant achievement at their Macquarie Park Headquarters in Sydney as it receives the WELL Platinum and WELL Equity certification from the International WELL Building Institute™. This double certification sets a precedent for Australian companies and the pharmaceutical sector, with MSD being the first global pharmaceutical company to receive a double certification.

Companies turn to the WELL Building Standard™ to prioritise the health and safety of their people and enhance the performance of their businesses. A recent study published in the Journal of Building and Environment highlighted that occupants in WELL-certified spaces report improved workplace satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being. The study showed WELL certification leads to nearly 30% higher occupant satisfaction, 26% better-perceived well-being, a 10% boost in mental health, and a median increase of 10 points in productivity.1

Lisa Onsley, Director of Human Resources, Australia & New Zealand says “Companies can promote wellness and productivity by designing a workplace that fosters physical and mental well-being. MSD’s purpose is inventing for life, and we want to ensure our workspace reflects this – and is an inviting, invigorating, and inspirational space for employees.”

Lisa James-Holmes, Associate Director and Global WELL Project Lead says, “The MSD WELL project team are proud of this achievement. These certifications demonstrate MSD’s unwavering dedication to innovation, wellbeing, and excellence. Our ability to excel depends on the integrity, knowledge, imagination, skill, diversity, safety, and teamwork of our employees. To this end, we work to create an environment of mutual respect, inclusion, and accountability – our workspace can help foster this culture.”

“MSD is the first global pharmaceutical company in Asia-Pacific region and the world to achieve the accreditation, and we have plans to roll out WELL certification across 42 commercial sites in the next 5 years”, she added.


  1. Impact of WELL certification on occupant satisfaction and perceived health, well-being, and productivity: A multi-office pre- versus post-occupancy evaluation. September 2022.Journal of Building and Environment.224(3):109539 DOI:10.1016/j.buildenv.2022.109539

MSD has today been named a Family Friendly Workplace in accordance with the National Work + Family Standards. Established by UNICEF Australia and Parents at Work, the Family Friendly Workplaces certification framework encourages employers to benchmark their own internal standards against nationally recognised best practices.

Prashant Nikam, Managing Director, MSD Australia and New Zealand says, “We respect and value our people. MSD team members contribute a significant part of their day to work, so we need both culture and considerations that are conducive to balancing life outside of work.”

“I believe we have a moral obligation to foster a culture of care, equality, and trust so our people can be their best at work and at home. When people feel supported in the workplace, not only do they benefit through better health and wellbeing, but their families and the broader community benefits too,” he added.

Lisa Onsley, Director of Human Resources, MSD Australia and New Zealand says, “Our policies go a long way in acknowledging the rising pressure families face when integrating work and caring responsibilities and opening the door for change. Family means different things for all of us and it’s important that we continue to foster a culture of inclusiveness.”

“It’s not only about working parents. It’s about creating a workplace that helps everyone be the best they can be,” she added.

Whilst 94% of employees at MSD agree they have the flexibility they need to manage their work and other commitments the company has a 2-year action plan that sets out how their family friendly workplace culture will be strengthened. This includes tailored approaches to meet individual needs, empowering managers to have powerful conversations about individual needs, and exploring engagement levers with their teams.

In March this year MSD was awarded Employer of Choice for Gender Equity for the seventh consecutive year – a clear recognition of their progressive parental leave policy as a key driver to achieving gender equal outcomes. The company continues to encourage all parents to take leave suitable for their needs and their growing families – inclusive of surrogacy, adoption and other caring arrangements.

MSD has today received the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equity citation holder for 2021–23. This is the seventh consecutive year that MSD has received this significant citation, recognising the company’s continued commitment to achieving gender equality in the workplace.

At MSD 94% of employees believe their manager genuinely supports equality between genders, and 91% strongly agree they have the flexibility they need to work and undertake other commitments. To continue to provide employee flexibility, we have extended our support for new parents regardless of their care-giver status as they return to work – recognising this can be a time of significant change in someone’s life.

Prashant Nikam, Managing Director MSD Australia and New Zealand says, “Flexibility in how people can take parental leave and having no qualifying period are important steps towards creating a family friendly workplace. We are proud to support our employees, regardless of their caregiver status, through more choice in how they care for their family.”

Lisa Onsley, Director of HR says, “We know our parental leave policy changes and improvements have meant that we’re seeing more men take time with their children. Participation in the Employer of Choice for Gender Equity citation for the seventh consecutive year shows our strong commitment to balancing the scales of equality and ensuring all of our employees, irrespective of gender, have equal opportunity to thrive both at home and in the workplace.”

Dave Cushing, IT Site Lead at our manufacturing facility in Bendigo knew that taking time off was the right thing to do for his family after he and wife Jo’s second child Sully had a challenging welcome into the world. “I felt comforted knowing that MSD would be there for me to support me and my family at this time. I felt relieved knowing I was able to access 12 week’s flexible parental leave – giving me precious time and space to focus on supporting my family, at a difficult time,” said Dave.

“It was such a weight off my shoulders. Even after Sully left ICU, he still required a high level of care. I don’t know how I could have coped if Dave wasn’t around,” said Jo.

Today, Sully is a happy and healthy 8-month-old boy. David and Jo are pleased to be watching him grow and reach his milestones.

Parental leave is a key moment that matters in our employee’s lives and MSD continues to encourage all parents to take leave suitable for their needs and their growing families, inclusive of surrogacy, adoption, and other caring arrangements. We are proud of our reputation as a family-friendly employer, and we recognise how important it is for our employees to spend time caring for their families.

We also understand the role that MSD must play in achieving gender equality both inside and outside of the workplace and we know that parental leave is a key driver in achieving gender equal outcomes – which is why we are proud of our progressive parental leave policy where equal leave is accessible to all, there are no qualifying periods to access leave and colleagues are able to take the leave flexibly to suit the different needs of their families.

Read Dave and Jo’s story here.

About the Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation. The Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation is a voluntary leading-practice recognition program designed to encourage, recognise, and promote organisations’ active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces. Receiving the WGEA EOCGE citation is a sign of an organisation’s commitment to making their workplaces equal. This commitment extends across their sectors, as they even influence others in their fields to keep pace with their diversity policies and practices. EOCGE citation holders are some of Australia’s leading change-makers who are driving and embedding gender equality in their workplaces.