Deloitte backing dads to take parental leave
23 August 2018: Deloitte Australia is helping lead a new community conversation on men taking a greater role in child care through the sponsorship of the Aussie Dads photograhic exhibition, kicking off at the Opera House this week.
In the first of a series of planned events in the lead up to Father’s Day, the exhibition and discussions represent the collective efforts of a number of local and international organisations, advocacy groups, experts and Government to launch Australia’s first national dialogue on shared parental leave. It is part of a broader effort to advance equal opportunities for fathers and mothers in Australia.
Deloitte is a leading employer in providing access to parental leave and other associated benefits for parents and families – and is focused on encouraging fathers to take a greater role in caregiving.
“We recognise that supporting parents and families is key to the ongoing success of our people. Secondly, we believe an initiative like this is necessary in helping to shift existing societal norms on caregiving and breadwinning – norms which ultimately have significant impacts on both men and women,” said Sam Sheppard, Chief Human Resources Officer, Deloitte.
“A child’s first words and steps, these are just a couple of treasured moments that many fathers who have worked full time and taken only days or weeks of leave – have missed over the years. On the flipside, without their partners taking an equal share in caregiving roles, many women have found themselves taking longer career breaks, which makes returning to their work and career a bigger challenge,” she said.
“With a 50/50 shared approach, both parents get to experience the joys of parenting, whilst minimising some of the impacts that can arise from taking an extended period off work.”
Deloitte Australia’s parental leave policy allows all parents access to a full 18 weeks – a change driven by Deloitte Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Officer, Cindy Hook, who recently shared with staff her own experience and credited her career achievements to shared caregiving responsibilities with her husband.
“When I think back on my own career, how I got here – a very big part of that is because my husband shared 50/50 in raising our children from the beginning. This allowed us to both have careers and also to raise two great kids,” said Cindy.
“It is my hope that a discussion like this will help to create a societal shift that will hopefully see men take up a greater share of caring responsibilities, and importantly, allow women to return to work sooner and continue pursuing their career desires.”
Deloitte’s approach to shared parental leave forms part of a much larger diversity and inclusion strategy, which aims to ensure the firm is able to shape a workplace which thrives on leveraging diversity, driving innovation and collaboration. Their collective offering for supporting parents includes:
- Deloitte Dads – a program with the intent of better supporting and providing equitable access for men to take parental leave and work flexibly.
- Flexible Parental Leave – as of October 2017, Deloitte employees are able to choose how they utilise their 18 weeks of paid parental leave, in a flexible way. For example, rather than taking 18 weeks in one go, they may elect to take 2 days a week over a longer period. This approach has resulted in 128% increase in men taking parental leave entitlements.
- Return to Work – this program allows any individual who has taken an extended career break the opportunity to take part in a fully paid, 20-week intern-style transition program back into the workplace.
- Reconnect Program – a tailored coaching program developed by Parents at Work. The program provides parents with the know-how, confidence and support to advance their career and balance their life and family. Parents are entitled to 1:1 coaching sessions and also can access a portal with a range of resources and materials to help them navigate parenthood.
- WorkAgility – our flexible work strategy recognises that our people have commitments beyond the workplace and focuses on giving individuals the choice in how, when and where they work whilst still meeting client and other work commitments.
See the Aussie Dads exhibition at the Sydney Opera House from Thursday 23 August to 31 August, and in Melbourne, at the Victorian State Library from 31 August to 7 September.