Our partners Parents at Work along with Baker McKenzie held a roundtable discussion on 26th November 2018, and have released a report with their findings. The aim of the roundtable discussion, with HR, Inclusion & Diversity and Legal experts, was to come up with some ideas on how their organisations can implement a more ‘shared’ and inclusive approach to their parental leave policies.
Experts from professional services, banking & finance, technology, legal, construction, FMCG, insurers and advocacy groups combined forces to be positive drivers for changes in their industries.
They brainstormed and shared ways to make parental leave and flexible work more accessible for all parents across Australian workplaces so that families can share the acre more easily without fear of red tape, stigma or discrimination.
In Australia less than 5% of dads take primary parental leave. This can attributed to the stereotypes that still exist around who should be caring for children and who should be the primary income earner. We will not be able to reach any of our goals towards equal pay or equal representation in the boardrooms unless something is done about the way that parental leave is viewed.
Some of the main challenges identified by the roundtable discussion were:
- Only 48% of businesses with over 100 employees offer a company paid parental leave scheme.
- Interpretation of the Government’s Paid and Unpaid Parental Leave and legal provisions can confuse employers.
- Company Parental Leave policies are often complicated for employees to understand.
- Men don’t think parental leave applies to them so most won’t even read the policy.
After looking at these issues the participants in the roundtable discussion started to identify potential solutions to these barriers. These ideas included some of the following:
- Consider making your organisation’s Parental Leave policies more flexible.
- Simplify your parental leave policy.
- Ensure your policies are linked to your organisation’s Diversity & Inclusion strategy.
- Challenge the need for ‘primary vs. secondary’ carer definitions.
- Normalise taking leave as part of your workplace culture.
- Support both mothers and fathers as they transition to parenthood and return to work afterwards.
To read the full report, go to Achieving Parental Leave Equality Roundtable Discussion Report.