Advancing Parental Leave Equality Network
Supporting & advocating for shared parental leave in Australia
APLEN is a network of organisations established as part of a commitment to lead UN global gender equality efforts to advance parental leave equality in Australia
Australia has the least generous statutory Paid Parental Leave scheme amongst OECD nations; men continue to take less than 5% of parental leave in Australia leaving caring responsibilities largely to women which holds gender progress back. Unless we address the policies, process and culture that prevent men from sharing the caring, true gender equality progress will not happen.
APLEN’s purpose is to break the breadwinner / homemaker mould by educating and inspiring organisations with innovative policies, practices and case studies on how to lead a family friendly, gender equal workplace, starting with parental leave.
To advance Australia’s shared parental leave policies in workplaces by engaging the business community to normalise parental leave being taken by both men and women.
Inspire dads to participate in ‘primary’ parental leave – activating a conversation that normalises men taking primary parental leave. Inspire workplaces and health care professionals to do more proactive things to encourage and support men to take parental leave and work flexibly to enable active engagement in parenting.
The overall story
Work & Care
What we know – mothers:
- Mothers shoulder the burden of family care and unpaid work in Australia
- Also (~30%) report an inability to balance work and family responsibilities
- Many face discrimination / stigma around use of ‘family friendly’ work policies
- There are implications for workforce retention and the gender pay gap
Work & Care
What we know – fathers:
- Most (71%) dads do not use flexible work options
- Only 2-5% fathers use govt. paid parental leave as primary carers
- Only 1 in 3 fathers access govt. Dad & Partner Pay
- Many report stigma and barriers preventing them from full access to ‘family friendly’ work options
- Many fathers (~30%) report an inability to balance work and family responsibilities
Work & Care
Why does this matter for organisations?
Inadequate support for work and family demands leads to:
- Poorer employee health and wellbeing
- Lower productivity, less job satisfaction
- Persistent barrier to improving gender equity
Family friendly work policy has largely been directed at mothers, but this can lead to further gender inequality in work and caregiving.
To advance parental leave in Australia to ensure all parents are equally supported to take parental leave including:
Encouraging workplaces to implement a shared parental leave policy that eliminates gender bias and normalises men taking parental leave.
Actively supporting parents to share the leave without fear of discrimination or adverse career consequences. Understanding what holds men back from taking parental leave and flexible work.
Champion parental leave equality by recognising fathers sharing the caring has a positive impact on women, men, children, society and the broader economy.
Who sets the agenda?
C O R P O R A T E ~ A U S T R A L I A ~ D O
It is the leadership and commitment of our largest organisations that lead the charge on gender equality through parental leave equality.
Parental leave friendly workplaces
Equal parental leave can be defined as policy that allows all employees to apply for the same parental leave entitlements, regardless of gender. These companies have declared equal parental leave entitlement for men and women and have eliminated primary and secondary carer definitions. Parents no longer are required to choose between being a primary or secondary carer.
Boston Consulting Group
Allens Law Firm
Norton Rose Fulbright
Secure Code Warrior
APLEN has instigated a number of initiatives to raise awareness about parental leave equality. Here is a taste of some of the exciting things we’ve done!
Advancing Parental Leave Equality and Introducing Shared Care in Australia
The business case for action
Reshaping Parental Leave Equality in Australia – Lessons from Sweden
This documentary was commissioned and produced by Parents At Work and highlights the issues that Australia (and many other countries) face when it comes to supporting men take parental leave. It also highlights the benefits to families, society and business when we support both men and women to take a more active role in caring for children in early years of life.
Advocacy Art: Aussie Dads Photographic Exhibition at the Sydney Opera House
In an Australian first, business leaders gathered to kick-start a conversation about shared parental leave. The event featured the debut of Johan Bävman’s Aussie Dads exhibition and launched the new Parents At Work Whitepaper on introducing shared care in Australia.
“What a privilege to be involved, stories help to change perceptions and wow the story telling at this event was amazing. Congrats on such a wonderful event and initiative – the Aussie Dads campaign will amplify such an important conversation. Thank you for inviting Westpac to be part of it.”
Felicity Duffy, Westpac
Advocacy Art: Kiwi Dads Photographic Exhibition in Auckland
With less than 2% of Kiwi Dads taking parental leave this campaign encouraged organisations to adopt a shared parental leave approach to offer the same leave equally to fathers and mothers. The portraits were taken by local photographer Sarah Weber and are of 12 Kiwi dads from different areas and backgrounds of New Zealand. Parents At Work continued it’s work with the Embassy of Sweden and together with Global Women NZ and our corporate sponsors showcased the Kiwi Dads photographic exhibition alongs side the Swedish Dads exhibition in Auckland at a business leaders launch.
Industry business leaders events
Since Father’s Day 2017 APLEN and Parents At Work has hosted a number of business leader events to inspire Australian workplaces to collaborate on how they can encourage more fathers to take parental leave.
Educational and collaborative, the sessions have:
- Launched a new best practice guide for employers that includes benchmark shared parental leave policies and how they can increase participation of Australian fathers taking parental leave.
- Highlighted the business benefits of advancing men’s participation in parental leave and flexible work; recognising the positive impact it has on women, men, children, society and the broader economy.
- Examined key research findings on the challenges that hold men back from participating in parental leave and flexible work.
- Explored how industry can look beyond policy changes to advance shared care participation by men and women; reduce prejudice and discrimination; and promote inclusiveness of those with caring commitments.
To read more about these industry events visit:
APLEN supporting members
In the media
Find out more
For press and media enquiries please contact the APLEN organising team at firstname.lastname@example.org or +61 425 572 774.