RESEARCH

This is Australia’s best university workplace for new dads

SOURCE: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash
Can you guess which Australian university has the most dad-friendly policies?


By U2B Staff 

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While maternity leave is a common benefit at almost any workplace, the same allowance for new dads still remains a rare gift, even in the most progressive economies.

In fact, the common thread in conversations about equality, diversity and inclusivity in the workplace is that it focusses largely on women and racial minorities. But as proponents of equality continue to challenge social and gender stereotypes across every aspect of life and work, the gender paradigm seems to have shifted in mainstream consciousness.

In the workplace, this is manifest in changing policies governing parental benefits. More companies are adopting gender-neutral policies that ensure both primary and secondary caregivers, regardless of gender, are given sufficient paid time off to be with their children.

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Universities are no different. 

In fact, as they exist at the center of civic life, it becomes almost incumbent on them to embrace these policies across every administrative function of the university.

Diversity and inclusivity have become central to university governance today, whether it has to do with student, staff or faculty recruitment or purchasing decisions.

To identify the organisations leading the way with the most dad-friendly workplaces, Direct Advice for Dads, an online resource for expecting dads run by private health insurer HBF, last year launched an Australian-first research on the matter.

In this year’s iteration of the study released earlier this month, one university made into to the top 10 list: Macquarie University in Sydney.

As the only university to make the top 10, this effectively makes Macquarie the best university workplace in Australia for new fathers.

best university workplace
Macquarie’s dad-friendly policies make it the best place to work in Australia for new fathers. Source: Shutterstock

The public research university earned seventh place overall on the rankings that listed Deloitte as first and Telstra as second after analysing the largest 500 Australian organisations by revenue.

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Breaking into the top 20 were two other higher learning institutions: the Australian National University that snagged 14th place and Curtin University of Technology at 16th.

“Macquarie has always been at the forefront of parents and carers leave provisions,” says Macquarie University Vice-President for People and Services Nicole Gower.

“We aim to be progressive and innovative in recognising and supporting the different ways that staff of all genders can have families. 

“This includes encouraging and supporting dads to take the time they need to spend with their family.”

For the research, HBF teamed up with research consultancy CoreData to analyse the secondary and primary carer paid leave policies of Australia’s revenue-producing companies.

To make the list, companies had to meet several criteria, which included, among others, the provision of no less than two weeks’ paid secondary carer’s leave and a minimum of 12 weeks’ paid primary carer’s leave.

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Macquarie, the research found, is very serious about parental leave and the family unit.

A generous leave policy grants 14 weeks of paid parental leave to full-time employees, with no eligibility requirements. Employees who have completed more than a year of continuous service will receive an additional 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

best university workplace for dads
Macquarie University Senior Lecturer Mauricio Marrone and his family. Source: Macquarie University

The university has also broadened the definition of “family member” and “partner” to ensure maximum inclusivity for all staff and faculty. 

For example, family members include child, adult child, adopted child, foster child or stepchild. Spouse or partner includes same-sex partner, de facto partner, or former spouse or partner. A parent can be an in-law, a foster parent, grandparent, or sibling, or anyone who stands in a bona fide domestic or household relationship with a staff member — whether in a dependency or support role.

As a result, over 92 percent of dads who took secondary carer’s leave also took advantage of the paid primary carer’s leave.

On top of leave, the university also offers several other family-friendly programmes to keep dads connected to their families while pursuing professional growth, such as flexible work arrangements, on-campus childcare and school holiday vacation programmes.

For all these reasons, HBF found Macquarie’s to be the best workplace for new fathers across the higher education ecosystem in Australia.

“We’re extremely proud to have been recognised for the provisions we offer to primary carers and the positive impact that these have on our workforce,” Gower said.