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One-minute reads

bite-sized wisdom on equity & inclusion

Get key insights distilled into manageable, no-jargon, quick reads for a deeper understanding of equity and inclusion.

What are ‘the best’ paid parental leave practices?

Despite the changing nature of family life, women still mostly assume the role of primary carer for paid parental leave, perpetuating gender stereotypes. In heterosexual relationships, men often take on the role of secondary carer and typically take shorter breaks from work. Imagine the impact if men took longer parental leave – how would it reshape women's return to work, household dynamics, and workplace culture? Encouraging men's involvement in childcare redistributes responsibilities and normalises shared caregiving.

‘The best’ parental leave policies improve workplace inclusivity and work-life balance for all parents, regardless of gender. They also help parents maintain financial stability and security, supporting their long-term financial well-being.

Here are five best practice options to improve parental leave for your employees:

  • Offer substantial paid parental leave to both primary and secondary carers (of diverse gender identities), topping up government schemes. E.g. offer primary carers at least eight weeks and secondary carers at least three weeks at full pay in addition to the government scheme.

  • Continue superannuation contributions on employer-paid parental leave, and consider adding contributions to the government-funded scheme.

  • Provide flexible leave options and remove repayment obligations for employees not returning to work.

  • Ensure immediate accessibility to parental leave and extend benefits to various family structures, including adoption for same-sex couples and surrogacy.

  • Promote men's uptake of parental leave through active support and integration with other caregiver-friendly measures, such as flexible work arrangements and childcare assistance.

Updating parental leave policies is a high-impact initiative with significant cultural and societal benefits, as well as huge benefits for your workplace. Take action. If you need help, don't hesitate to reach out.


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