The best Australian workplaces for dads
FORGET the company car, the corporate card and casual Friday, businesses are introducing the most important work perk of all - allowing new dads precious time with their children.
Leading Australian companies have begun offering parental leave schemes and flexible work plans for new dads to allow more time with their children, shaking up the traditional female-dominated caring system.
CoreData and Direct Advice for Dads teamed up to rank the best Australian workplaces for dads, based on the parenting policy of 500 top Australian businesses.
They found many companies were beginning to recognise the shifting family dynamic and rising demand for dads to be carers so women could return to work if and when they wanted.
Medibank Private was crowned the best workplace for dads in the country after implementing a policy this year which allows both parents 14 weeks paid leave anytime within two years of their baby's birth.
"We want to change the story and provide greater flexibility and participation in carer responsibilities, regardless of gender," Medibank spokeswoman Kylie Bishop said.
"Parental leave disproportionately affects female employees and it shouldn't."
Direct Advice for Dads managing editor David Schmook said the best businesses for dads offered a minimum of two weeks paid secondary carer's leave and 12 weeks paid primary carer's leave that could be taken any time in the child's first year; and flexible work practices.
"What we found is the best workplaces now are recognising that dads want to be really hands-on parents and play that role as an equal caregiver with their partner," Mr Schmook said.
"The great benefit of doing it, is it opens the door for more mums to return to work earlier if that's what they want to and it helps the whole family.
"The positive benefits for companies for offering a policy like this are huge and we did speak to dads who said once they were given this opportunity by the company they felt great loyalty to their employer for giving them this opportunity to be with their children."
Father-of-two Paul Mills is a director at PwC and said the company's policy which allowed dads to take 18 weeks of carer's leave any time within the baby's first year had been life-changing for his family.
Mr Mills took three weeks off when his daughter Florence was born and took a further 15 weeks when she was seven months, allowing his wife, Rochelle, to return to work. He's doing the same with seven-month-old baby Lawson and said the scheme was invaluable to his family.
"It means I get to be a bigger part of their life and it really helps the relationship you have with them," Mr Mills said. "It's just changed my life. How could you have done this 20 years ago, how would you finance that?"
"It's a really generous program and you they're really supportive encouraging you to use it."
TOP 30 DAD-FRIENDLY WORKPLACES WITH OFFICES IN QUEENSLAND
■ Commonwealth Bank
■ Ernst and Young
■ SAP Australia
■ Imperial Tobacco Australia
■ Laing O'Rourke Australia
■ American Express
■ Westpac Banking Corporation
■ Shell Energy Holdings Australia
■ Transurban Group
■ Vodafone Hutchison Australia
■ Qld University of Technology
■ Griffith University
■ QBE Insurance Group
■ Bendigo & Adelaide Bank