Michael Johnston and Westpac – Dads on Parental Leave Case Study

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About Michael

Michael is a Sydney-based working dad of two kids, a boy and a girl. He took parental leave under Westpac’s generous three months paid scheme when his daughter Esther was around 6 months old. Now, having returned back to his full time role, Michael is able to make use of the company’s agile working approach, to insert a level of flexibility into his working day, whether it be leaving earlier to pick up the kids or working from home if they happen to be ill.

Michael’s Parental Leave Story 

When his wife returned to work six months after the birth of their second child, Michael said it was a “no-brainer” to take three months off to be the primary carer for his daughter. “I just don’t know why, if you worked for a company that was willing to give you your three months off paid leave to spend time with your child, you wouldn’t do that? What possible reason would you have to say no?” 

Michael’s wife had started a new role during her second pregnancy and hadn’t accrued any entitlements to paid leave, but between the two of them, “it was obviously beneficial to be able to have one of [us] caring for Esther in the first nine months.” He also said “it was a joy to spend 3 months with Esther and had noticeable benefits for our relationship.”

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Adam Bird and KPMG – Dads on Parental Leave Case Study

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About Adam

Adam is a Sydney-based working dad and Senior Manager of Audit and Assurance at KPMG Australia. Adam has 10+ years audit and assurance experience across the UK and Australian KPMG firms, successfully leading multiple large engagement teams primarily in the FMCG, Telecommunications, Gaming, Pharmaceutical, Distribution and Manufacturing sectors. In May 2016, Adam Bird became a first-time father to Ari Jayden Bird and took three weeks paid parental leave from his senior manager position at KPMG in Sydney.

Adam’s Parental Leave Story

“I took a full three weeks off when he was born, which was amazing, the weather in Sydney was warm and we’d go out for walks as a family, that time was absolutely amazing.”

Adam went back to work full time after that, as his wife was on maternity leave. The following February Adam’s wife returned to full time work as her employer did not offer part-time or flexible work arrangements. Adam took the opportunity to approach his employer, KPMG about working part-time. As a result, Adam began working three days a week and caring for his 8-month old son, Ari, two days a week.

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Sean Glover and Westpac – Dads on Parental Leave Case Study

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Next in a series of case studies celebrating dads who have taken an extended parental leave we interview Sean Glover, Deputy head of Government Affairs at Westpac for his  perspective on balancing his caring responsibilities with a busy career.

About Sean

Sean is a Sydney-based working dad – married and a father to two sons. When his eldest son, now 7, was born, he took three months of parental leave, with his employer’s willingness to help and make things work. When his second son was born three years ago, Sean not only undertook parental leave, he took it one step further with long service leave and a career break, all of which spanned 15 months. He now balances working three days a week at Westpac with a business he and his wife bought.

Sean’s Parental Leave Story

When Sean initially took three months of parental leave to care for his first son Tom, he viewed it more as an extended break. He’d been fortunate enough to step into a different role at Westpac upon his return and with Tom being a “terrific baby” Sean felt like it had been easy.

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Dion Palin and Lendlease – Dads on Parental Leave Case Study

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First in a series of case studies celebrating Dads who have taken an extended parental leave we interviewed Dion Palin, Finance Manager at Lendlease for his unique perspective on being a stay at home dad and then working flexibly with the work-life balance demands of managing a successful career.

About Dion

Dion is a Brisbane-based working dad – married and father to two sons. At the birth of his first son 2 ½ years ago he took advantage of his employer’s parental leave scheme experiencing all the milestones and challenges of a parent and baby’s first year of life. Following the arrival of another son 4 months ago, Dion now tries to balance career and parental responsibilities by working 4 days per week. Every Tuesday he can now be found changing nappies, at swimming lesson, at the park with his toddler or honing his negotiating skills around afternoon-nap time.

Dion’s Parental Leave Story

When it came time for Dion and his wife to consider care options for their son, Nicolas, as she transitioned back to her busy practice as a self-employed GP, rather than go down the day care route, Dion took the opportunity to step in as the primary carer and take leave from his role at Lendlease.  The supportive Paid Parental Leave policy and the desire to keep their son at home for the first year made it a simple and straightforward choice for the couple – Dion would stay home and be the primary carer for 12 months after the birth of their son.

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The link between work and family life – An SBS interview with Parents At Work founder Emma Walsh

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Our CEO Emma Walsh was recently interviewed by SBS about what it’s like for modern parents to juggle a busy career with caring responsibilities as well as introduce a new exciting project coming to Australia in September – Swedish Dads in Australia! 

To listen to the complete interview tap here.

“Emma Walsh is helping parents and companies to find a way for a balanced life between work and family. Her organization together with the Swedish Embassy in Canberra and the Swedish Institute have brought the photo exhibition Swedish Dads to Australia. Opens in September in Sydney. Emma will travel to Sweden in October to learn more about the Swedish Parental scheme.”

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The 5 hour work day – a success story for one Managing Director and his family

Jonathan Elliot

For the average employee, an eight-hour day is the norm. Indeed, it may be nothing more than the minimum, with an expectation that more hours at work means demonstrating dedication to one’s role and company. It’s no different for Jonathan Elliot, Managing Director at Collins SBA. At least, it wasn’t.

“The standard eight-hour day is an arbitrary template and doesn’t make sense in a lot of areas, particularly when it comes to work-life balance.” Yet how effective are any of us when we turn up and spend eight hours in a chair? As Jonathan explains, “we don’t pay you to attend, we pay you to produce.”

It was the cancer diagnosis that his wife received when their daughter was five months old that prompted Jonathan to make some changes. Having only been in the MD role for six months meant Jonathan was on a steep learning curve, yet his wife’s treatment and the care of their daughter became a priority, requiring reduced working hours. “It made me become more effective. I couldn’t reduce to part time completely, so it really forced me to assess how I was doing things.

“When I got home at 2pm, I was able to take over the care of Esther and give Lou a break. Having a few extra hours each day meant I got quality time every day rather than just the weekend.”

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How Australian Businesses Can Better Support Working Dads

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These days, working while raising children is increasingly common. According to the ABS Survey of Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation, 62% of coupled parents work, while 60% of single parents work. What’s more, 90% of dads with children under 15 are employed, meaning the vast majority of Australian fathers are juggling work and parenting commitments in tandem. Here are just some of the ways Australian businesses should be looking to create a supportive environment for working dads.

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Managing Your Career with Sick Kids

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As sure as night follows day, the first few years of parenthood, that no one really warns you about, is guaranteed to include dealing with endless days of sick kids whose germs often spread throughout the whole family, derailing everyone. New parents can find themselves feeling wiped out with worry and sleep deprivation.

Once your child is old enough to attend playgroups, start childcare or frequent other community places where children congregate, all sorts of infections seem to be waiting to pounce. And, no amount of vigilant, clean-freak parenting can avoid a bout of sickness at some time or another.

The question is, how do you deal with it when your child is sick, you’re juggling work and, just when it looks like your little one is recovering, you’re struck down with the lurgy?

This article was first featured on the Huffington Post Australia. To read the full article by our CEO Emma Walsh (including a personal account of she has managed with three kids over the years) tap here.

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More Than Just Family – Top Qualities of The Workplaces Where People Take Care of Each Other

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The workplace of the future  starts with how we treat ourselves – first and foremost.

Before we can truly nurture our children, love our partners, care for our colleagues and friends we must first give all of these things to ourselves. For if we do not, we have no real marker for the quality of care we are offering; what we are delivering to others would only be an nth of a degree of what the potential could be.

Think about it like this… if our energy or love for self is only half full we only have a half full glass to offer others. What if we honoured and cared for ourselves in such a way that it left us feeling vibrant, joyful and healthy – like, full vitality healthy. How would our caring for others compare to when we don’t look after ourselves like we know we could?

“It is a common belief that caring for yourself first is selfish, yet when done in truth, caring for self is one of the most selfless acts that one can do. Self-care is an essential ingredient in the caring process and greatly enriches the quality of care you are able to offer another. When we are living our full potential we can then truly support others to meet their potential.”  Tanya Curtis, Fabic Behavioural Specialist

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Meditation for Mums and Dads

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Is there such a thing? Well, yes and no. No in terms of meditation is meditation – a simple reconnection to your body or ‘union with your self’ as Katie Walls said in our recent special event webinar Meditation for Mums and Dads. Meditation places no biases or pre-requisites on us. It is a tool for everyone – whether you live on a mountain top in Nepal or you work in an office in the city, whether your 6 years old or 60 – you have access to this very simple and useful tool. It’s a yes because parents do have unique challenges when raising children of various ages and sometimes we need a little more insight into how we can care and support ourselves amongst the sometimes chaotic life of juggling work and caring responsibilities.

Our special guest Katie is a complimentary health and wellbeing practitioner who has a lot of experience working in busy HR roles in corporate companies whilst raising three children with her equally busy husband so knows the pressures modern parents face. Katie also runs the busy wellbeing clinic Gentle Rhythms in Sydney. With Katie we explored how to be with these challenges and pressures and still be able to feel like ourselves at the end of the day. Meditation was a key component of being able to do this. But the question many of us have as working parents is – where will I find the time?

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