As Australia lags behind in terms of gender neutral parental leave schemes, Linktree has introduced a gender neutral parental leave policy in August to be a torchbearer in this domain in some respects. This policy provides 18 weeks leave for all genders and family constructs. Flexibility and paid leaves will be given to attend IVF, fertility and antenatal appointments and sessions. Counsellors and Mental Health Experts will also be arranged for the wider workforce.
Linktree's decision was based on a report released by the Grattan Institute containing an analysis of the economic and social advantages of equal parental leave. The report stated that Australia is ranking amongst the bottom when it comes to giving generous parental leave schemes in the developed world. The federal government was urged to increase the current 20-week paid parental leave allowance by adding up to six weeks more.
The Grattan Institute proposed that a six week ‘use it or lose it’ for each parent to ensure equal distribution of parental load. 12 more weeks could also be added to this and the family can decide who will avail of it. The report concluded that in order to be more engaged in children’s lives in their early years, paid parental leave needs to be substantially boosted for fathers and partners.
Isa Notermans, Global Head of People and Culture at Linktree, said that they will be partnering with a Melbourne-based startup Circle in its bid to create sensitivity around gender inclusive paid leave policy. The start-up has created a platform with a motive to support working parents in the workplace.
Notermans claimed that gender neutral paid leaves will generate greater gender parity in workplaces. So, it is not only a conversation about providing leaves but also instrumental in furthering an important cultural change.
Industry change is also visible as proven by a survey of parental leave policies executed by insurer HBF and research firm CoreData in 2020. It showed that the companies allowing new fathers to take responsibility to be the primary carer for their children increased from 11% in 2018 to 18% in 2021.
The survey also revealed that the most generous parental leaves policies are being provided by insurance and consulting firms instead of the tech sector. In this list, Deloitte Australia, was followed by Hollard Insurance Company, Telstra, ING and Medibank Private respectively. AustralianSuper, Novartis Australia, Sanofi, Google Australia and QBE Insurance Group also made it to the top 10.