Category Archives: Parental Leave

Addressing the ‘motherhood penalty’: Make dads more than an ‘optional extra’ in parental leave policy to close the gender equality gap

Three hands of the same family.

The number of working parents – particularly working mothers – continues to rise and yet the number dads taking parental leave persistently isn’t budging – with only 2% of Australian dads taking parental leave.

“An investigation by the Diversity Council in 2014 found raising children accounted for ‘a 17% loss in lifetime wages for women’. . . When it comes to family dynamics, change has been fairly slow in Australia.” (Matt Wade, SMH)

Why is this the case despite clear evidence that a society – all aspects of it (work, community and home life) – greatly benefits from embracing gender equality, not just in word but in action? Why are Australian women continuing to lose out when it comes to their careers? Why are men continuing to lose out when it comes to spending time with their children? And why are employers not seeing the value in what facilitating greater ease – for both sexes – in managing work and family responsibilities?

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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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How Australian Businesses Can Better Support Working Dads

Father And His Baby Daughter Grocery Shopping.

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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