Posted: 15 May. 2019 05 min. read

Lifetime bonds are worth celebrating

Our Deloitte Dads photo exhibition

As a first of its kind for Deloitte Australia, we’ve launched our Deloitte Dads photo exhibition, which will tour the country to all our offices. 

Deloitte Dads follows in the footsteps of Swedish Dads and Aussies Dads – exhibitions and campaigns that have boldly paved the way to increase opportunities for men to experience parental leave equally. 

Our exhibition features 11 Deloitte fathers, who have taken parental leave, in beautiful photographs with their children. The photos celebrate special moments between these dads and their families, and the positive impact our flexible parental leave has had on them. 

Following the recent announcement of our improved parental leave policy, the purpose of the exhibition is to continue the conversation about the importance of equal access to parental leave and how it contributes to inclusion in all its forms.

As Rachelle Koster, Risk Advisory Partner, said at the time of our parental leave policy announcement: “This is a great move. Giving fathers access to this type of policy is so important for everyone's wellbeing so the big changes in your household can happen in a way that suits your family unit. In our case, I've just returned to work after our child was born eight months ago and my husband is now having his quality time, which helps me focus on getting back into work.”

We chat to two of our official Deloitte Dads about their parental leave experience.

Tim Noad (Assurance & Advisory Partner) was on parental leave for four months full-time and two months part-time to care for Emily and Annabelle.

Why do you think it’s important to go on parental leave?

The ability to spend time dedicated to looking after my twin girls was an amazing experience and there are innumerable benefits. It allowed my partner to go back to work full-time and gave us both a better understanding of how to balance our careers and parenting (now that we are both back working).

There will never be a ‘good time’ from a work perspective to find four to six months to take off. Even so, I took my leave four months into partnership at Deloitte and I found a lot of support, both within our office and from my clients. 

Mostly though, my parental leave experience strengthened my relationship with my daughters, which endures beyond the dedicated leave period.

How did your parental leave assist your family?

I think access to parental leave fundamentally changes the relationship you have with your family. It strengthened the relationship I have with my daughters and I will always be grateful for that time. 

It also created a greater sense of understanding between my partner and me, which continues today. My wife went back to work full-time while I was on leave and then became part-time when I returned to work full-time. The two months I spent working part-time has given me an appreciation of just how hard it is to manage, which has helped our relationship now.

What is your most memorable experience (for good or ‘not-so-good’ reasons)?

I quickly learnt that you need to find activities to fill your day but still stick to a routine (especially with twins), so I became a regular at a number of local parks, cafes and the zoo. Being treated as a regular, with the empathy of service staff who see you struggling with two young children, had its benefits!

I also vividly remember going to the ‘mother’s group’ for the first time. My wife was one of the first in her group to go back to work, so I was the first husband to join. It definitely changed the dynamics and it was difficult to break down those social barriers when in larger group situations. I think if men increasingly use parental leave, those long-held gender stereotypes, for men and women, will be challenged and hopefully cease.

Paul Tyler, Tax & Legal Director
Paul Tyler, Tax & Legal Director, took full-time and part-time parental leave for 12 months to care for Freddie and Michael

Why do you think it’s important to go on parental leave?

I was able to take my parental leave flexibly over 12 months, with one week paid, two weeks unpaid and then one day off per week for the remainder of the year. This was very important to me so I could spend quality time with my children and support my wife as she focused on her business. I’m yet to meet a dad who says they regret spending more time with their kids, so do it!

How did your parental leave assist your family?

Spending time with my son Michael meant we have developed a great connection and I wish I had spent a similar time with my first child, Freddie. It also meant my wife was able to dedicate that one day per week (as close to uninterrupted as possible) to her business and maintain her client relationships and workflow. 

What is your most memorable experience (for good or ‘not-so-good’ reasons)?

Michael was one of the most socially curious and engaging babies I have ever seen. I took him to a coffee shop one day at about 10 months old, where he and an elderly lady ‘conversed’ for quite a while. When she went to leave, she said, “Thank you, you’ve made my day”. I had said all of a few words – the joy that children bring.

By far, the ‘worst’ thing about becoming a parent is the worry. We have been so lucky to have very healthy children but Freddie developed sleep apnoea from overly enlarged tonsils. As it progressed rapidly, he required a second operation at the age of two - two weeks after Michael was born. At the same time, Janet, my wife, had developed reasonably severe mastitis – so we all ended up staying in different hospitals. Not a fun week but a great example of why it was so important for me to have parental leave.

Thank you to our Deloitte Dads who have played an important role in driving change by sharing their family experience with us. 

Meet our author

Laura Edwards

Laura Edwards

Senior Consultant, Internal Services

Internal Communication Senior Consultant within Deloitte Australia's Corporate Affairs and Communications team.