On Friday, the JustMums Recruitment team were honoured to attend an International Business Leaders think tank event (run by our partners Parents at Work) on the subject of advancing parental leave equality for Australian fathers. The event was attended by large corporations such as Westpac, Deloitte, Medibank, Spotify and PwC to name just a few, and we heard from an amazing line-up of speakers about various ways to increase men’s participation in parental leave as only 4.6% of all employees who took primary parental leave in Australia were men.
This got us thinking about the flexible working policies of organisations and whether there was anything formal in place to benefit working parents, or if it was more on a case-by-case basis. Different organisations look at flexible working in different ways, there’s no standardised model of what flexible working looks like so this is where it can be confusing. There’s no doubt that a formalised plan would be an attractive benefit to potential employees, so why aren’t more organisations embracing it?
“There definitely needs to be a cultural shift to change flexible working arrangements within organisations”, says Erin Kefalas, Director of JustMums Recruitment. “Certainly, a policy that supports Mums and Dads to work around their family dynamic would attract and retain talented individuals”.
There is a huge pool of untapped talented people that are not in the workforce for this very reason. Sometimes fitting work around family life (especially when children are very young) is just too hard so the decision is made for one parent to work full time. What if there were more flexible options for both parents to be able to work around their family? For example, if dads were able to work from home for a certain number of days per week then mums could take on a part time job (or vice versa).
“Quite often what we find is that organisations start out with the right intention, but somewhere along the line a policy is not agreed upon and then it’s up to individual managers to make up their own rules”, says Erin, “The directive needs to come from the top down and create a culture that embraces flexible working for all. For example, we know that if dads were given more flexible options, then more mums would be in the workforce!”
At JustMums Recruitment we are passionate about providing flexible working opportunities for mums so that they have choices to return to work with a family. Please contact our experienced team via our website for further information on how we can help you find the right role or the right employee for your team.