Eligibility issues limiting men from taking longer parental leave: report

Men also less likely to get support in taking parental leave

Eligibility issues limiting men from taking longer parental leave: report

Nearly half of men in Australia were constrained to take less than a month of leave amid eligibility issues and low support from employers when taking paid parental leave (PPL), according to a new report.

The 2024 National Working Families Survey talked to more than 6,200 of Australia's working parents and carers to look into changing workplace trends across the country. The survey is an initiative spearheaded by Parents At Work and UNICEF Australia, undertaken independently by Deloitte Access Economics, and in collaboration with corporate and community organisations

Among its major findings is the need for better paid leave access for men in the workplace. According to the report, 48% of men in Australia take less than one month leave, with 45% of them saying their parental leave was too short.

More than half of male respondents (51%) cited not being eligible for longer PPL as reason why they're taking short parental leave days. Another 38% cited financial reasons.

Source: 2024 National Working Families Survey

Low support from employers

The findings come as 48% of the respondents agreed that employers are less likely to support men in taking time off so they can take care of their family.

According to the report, employers find it more acceptable for women to use family-friendly options than men. Despite this, 50% of all the respondents agreed that their work commitment is put into question if they use family-friendly work arrangements.

Source: 2024 National Working Families Survey

The findings underscore the effect of gender norms underpinning family friendly policies in the workplace, said the report.

"For men, the most common reason cited for taking too short a parental leave period was that they were not eligible for longer PPL based on their company policy.”

Organisations across Australia have long been encouraged to offer paid parental leave benefits for men, and for men to take them up, to allow equal distribution of household work between parents.

It can also improve infant mortality rates, health outcomes for mothers, and higher female labour force participation.

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