The future of work is FAMILY FRIENDLY – How does your organisation make it happen?

When two became three

We all belong to families and every family is unique.

“As Gen X and Y continue to merge as the ‘new breed’ of two income parents juggling busy careers and family life; their needs, expectations and realities are very different from the generation before them; is your workplace ready?”

Emma Walsh, CEO Parents At Work

Throughout 2017, Parents At Work, with the support of KPMG, Norton Rose Fullbright, Deloitte and Gilbert + Tobin, toured Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and spoke to hundreds of HR, Diversity and Inclusion professionals, in both private and public sector about the value of Creating Family Friendly Workplaces.

The aim was to highlight and discuss the state of the nation when it comes to Australia’s progress on parental leave, flexible work and more specifically dad’s participation in sharing the caring.

We shared the first-hand insights from the 2017 Working Families Report and outlined the changing caring needs of the next generation of parents and carers.

Most importantly, we discussed what organisations can do to be more family friendly in 2018. A brief overview of these must do’s include:

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WGEA update: Creating Family Friendly Workplaces still not on the agenda

Business team meeting
WGEA reports mixed progress on support for caring and a decline in paid parental leave support.

The latest WGEA Gender Equality Scorecard 2017 released in November reveals the slow progress being made by Australian employers when it comes to advancing parental leave and providing employees with caring support.

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Tips for Travelling with Kids

Playing with his Rocket

Recently we were asked by one of our course attendees if we had any tips for travelling with a toddler. It’s not so unusual these days for working parents to travel with their children on business trips as well as your regular family holiday. The question every parent has asked – especially when it comes to long haul flights – is how do you make travelling with a child a pleasure rather than pain?

The pain of not being prepared

I travelled solo from Sydney to London with my 18-month-old daughter a few years ago. I hadn’t had much sleep that week, especially the night before so was feeling more than a little worse for wear before we even got on the plane. Then of course throughout the two long haul flights – in fact the entire journey – my daughter didn’t sleep at all. Even though she was of normal size range she was too big for the baby beds on the plane and I had only booked one seat. The flight attendants wouldn’t allow her to sleep on the floor either due to trip hazard – not even beneath my feet. Needless to say we were both exhausted by the end of the 24 hour trip.

But don’t let this put you off. I wasn’t as prepared as I could have been and I learnt A LOT from it!

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1 in 5 Mums, 1 in 10 Dads – How to support employees and colleagues with PND

Contemplating her next move

1 in 5 mums and 1 in 10 dads: these are the shocking figures on perinatal anxiety and depression in Australia.
The question is, what are we doing about it?

Feeling down or stressed during one of the most joyful times of your life is not the way it should be. The good news is, there is much we can do to support parents during pregnancy and first year of a child’s life.

The 12 – 18th of November is Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Awareness Week. This week is an initiative by Australian charity PANDA to help raise awareness around what signs to look for and where parents can seek support when they feel anxious or down during those all important early years of parenting.

Watch this candid presentation from Dr Vijay Roach and Cathie Knox from The Gidget Foundation about how they managed post natal depression raising their 5 children. This 1-hour talk was recorded last month at the Parents At Work educational event during the Swedish Dads exhibition and addresses the mother, the father and the professional’s perspective.

Screenshot 2017-10-23 05.50.17

Where to seek help?

If your employees, colleagues or even yourself need extra emotional wellbeing support when pregnant or in early parenthood:

For more information visit the Gidget Foundation.

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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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