The National Australia Bank has changed its paid parental leave policy to include men and non-birth parents, marking a shift in how we view parenting roles.
The new plan – which shows how corporations are seeking to get a competitive edge by utilising diversity to their advantage – will see men able to claim 12 weeks at full pay within the first 12 months of their child’s life. Previously the NAB’s policy gave parental leave to primary carers, mostly women, so its male workers weren’t entitled to leave.
Currently men are able to claim two weeks of parental leave (dad and partner pay) on minimum wage from the government (women can claim 18 weeks).
However the take-up on this is fairly low. A report released by the Department of Social Services on Sunday showed that only one in three men took up the dad and partner pay.
“Uptake was significantly higher amongst casually employed and self-employed fathers (around 50% for both groups), reflecting their very limited access to employer paid leave of any kind,” the report said.
However while men might not be taking up the dad and partner leave, other options are being explored. “The proportion of fathers taking unpaid leave in the first two months after a birth increased from 15% before Dapp to 22% after its introduction, and the proportion taking annual leave declined from 47% to 38%,” the report said.
The introduction of the scheme has helped spark cultural change within organisations, the report said.
Along with its revised parental leave scheme, the NAB released a report that echoed this shift in parenting roles – men want to be more involved.
Based on a sample of more than 1000 couples with children, the report found that 60 per cent of fathers would like to see more of their children and 45 per cent would choose caring for their over working full-time.
Now that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s heavily criticised Paid Parental Leave scheme has been dismantled, the focus is on affordable and accessible child care arrangements that encourage women to re-enter the workforce.