Category Archives: General

Balancing work and family: Tips for single fathers

Daniel Sherwin Single Father Photo

Single fathers today face a deeply rooted social bias that calls into question their ability to meet the demands of parenthood. It’s a prejudicial view that’s been around for decades. The New York Times reported 30 years ago on a study which found that single dads felt discriminated against because of an image which vilified them as negligent, even though those questioned indicated they were simply trying to provide for their kids. One respondent wrote that he’d been made to feel like a “freak.”

Persistent ideas about gender roles insist that men can’t be nurturing parents, or fulfill the vitally important role normally filled by a mother. It’s often said that dads just don’t have enough time to devote to their kids’ needs, or that they don’t know enough about parenting. Such preconceptions have been at work in the family court system for decades. Many judges still favor mothers in custody cases because they’re perceived to have a natural predilection for parenting. In fact, it is estimated that women are awarded custody at least 68 percent of the time. These ideas and beliefs are breaking down but they are still there nonetheless and that’s a problem as the divide it creates in our homes, workplaces and community is keeping both men and women at a disadvantage from living a fulfilling and balanced life. In particular, it’s holding women back in the workplace from advancing their career and men from embracing their innate caring nature which, when nurtured, can also speak volumes in our workplaces. Continue reading

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Returning to work after a career break? Introducing the Deloitte Returnship Program

RTW Deloitte Candidate Social Tile
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Feel like it’s time to re-start your career?

Last year, Deloitte Australia launched the highly successful Returnship Program – a back to work employment program designed for talented candidates who have taken an extended break or leave from their career.

Parents At Work proudly partnered with Deloitte to deliver the program and we’re pleased to say it’s back by popular demand with applications NOW OPEN until February 4th for the 2018 intake.

The first of its kind in Australia, Deloitte’s program offers an extensive learning and career development experience designed to support employees re-engage in the workforce.

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Leading Career Development All the Way– Inside Deloitte’s Return to Work Program

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Listen to the podcast here

Last year Deloitte Australia launched the highly successful Returnship Program – a back to work employment program designed for candidates who have taken an extended break or leave from their career.  The program is back by popular demand with applications open until February for the 2018 intake.

A first of its kind in Australia, Deloitte’s program offers a learning and career development experience designed to support employees re-engage in the workforce.  The reason this programme is leading the way in the HR world is that it equips participants with the skills, confidence and support crew required to successfully hit the ground running as they reignite their career.

Parents At Work has partnered with Deloitte to design and deliver the individual coaching as part of the Returnship Program.

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2018 – The Year of Sharing the Caring?

 

FLA_6362

As I close out for another year, in fact my 10th year running Parents At Work, my wish for 2018 is the same as it’s been for the last decade: I hope next year will be easier – the juggle I mean – for families everywhere. That is my New Year’s Resolution.

How can I, my husband, my friends, our community, our workplaces and our Government alleviate the everyday mounting pressure that confronts us as we raise our families whilst managing busy workloads? How do we make it so we’re not simply just surviving?

Make no mistake, our economy is relying on ‘the juggle’ to get better – it wants active participation of more mums and dads sharing the earning load so our nation can continue to grow. As with every year, this means we, as a society, need to rise to meet the challenges of what holds back working mums, dads and all those caring for others from fully participating? I’m not alone. We all need to find improved ways to share the caring load – for all our sakes.

A change for the better is in the air in Australian workplaces. As such Government policy needs to follow suit and carve out a vision to improve the way parents share parental leave, access flexible work and, balance work and family life.

This means championing gender equality around sharing the caring by normalising men taking parental leave and working flexibly.

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What advice do you have for parents looking for childcare?

Screenshot 2017-12-19 10.49.42
Q.

What advice do you have for parents looking for childcare? I’ve heard it’s extremely hard to “get in”. How do you secure a place at the centre you want?

A.
Visiting and talking to the carers will be your best chance of finding the perfect place for your child. If possible try to drop into the centre or Family Day care home outside of your appointment time so that you can see how things “really” work and try to visit at a couple of different times of the day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, you’re entrusting these people with your baby.
There are more options out there than just day care centres. The most common types of care available in Australia are:

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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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