“It allowed me to create a really strong bond with her and for my partner to get back to focusing on her career.” Evan Simmonds, UX Designer, REA Group.
Being a working parent isn’t easy. Pursuing a career while also maintaining healthy and present relationships takes a lot of hard work and careful planning. Traditional ideas around mums being the homemakers and dads going to work are becoming a thing of the past, with progressive employers updating their policies to meet the needs of modern families. Accessing these policies enables dads to better share parenting, giving women more time to focus on their career. These individual changes help improve gender equality at work and close the pay gap.
So, with this in mind, we’ve asked dads from our Endorsed Employers how they achieve work-life balance as a parent.
I took 2 weeks when Charlie was born and have another 6 remaining to take a bit further down the track when needed. This flexibility has enabled me to continue working and not fall behind as well as schedule my leave for when it is most needed and most supportive to my partner and us a family. Time is always valuable, so having a flexible working arrangement is amazingly supportive. It enables me to plan ahead, work extra time at nights or weekends or whenever it fits in, and alternating night duties with my partner when it comes to the baby. I am lucky enough to have a supportive partner and family, so if desperate they can buy me some time so I can get some personal ‘me time’, however I like hanging out with my little boy so I consider that to be time for myself well spent anyway!
Jared Marshall, Content Producer, WORK180
Hatch is very understanding of my young family responsibilities by offering flexible work arrangements. I’ve worked from home one day a week to accommodate difficulties with day-care. I’ve also worked on an adjusted schedule to help with school drop-off. I’ve learnt to disconnect from work and not bring any work stress home. Turning off my work emails on my phone is one way. I make sure I see my kids every morning to be part of their routine while they prepare for school. I keep updated with day-care stories online, so I know what they get up to during the day. Story time is also my highlight and a must-attend! Best of all is napping with my youngest falling asleep on my chest. It’s only possible during their first year or so― after that they start walking and there’s no slowing them down!
Ben Pegard, Project Controls Technician, Hatch
Being in the business for 25 years, and as CEO since 2010, I have seen some amazing changes within the business and society about how we now are recognising and providing for men to be fathers. There is so much we now do to enable a better work life balance, from our parental leave entitlements through to the ability to work far more flexibly. My weekends are the time I hold sacred. Saturday mornings are generally down at the netball courts with my daughter – I do not like to miss a game. The rest of the weekend is spent trying to find fish when weather allows; my partner, daughter and eldest son also loves to fish – my middle son not so much!
Jason Beutel, CEO, Robert Bird Group
Being a parent isn’t easy, it’s super rewarding and lots of fun but it can be unpredictable at times. Working at NAB there’s an understanding that there’s more to life than work and our little ones are super important. This understanding allows me to remain flexible to deal with challenges as they arise, from sleepless nights to calls from day-care to come and rescue Harvey or Elle from a hard bump in the playground – we’re a huge part of Harvey’s world and we can be there when he needs us most.
Andrew Freeman, Head of Cloud Platform Services, ICW, NAB
My employer gave me the amazing opportunity and support to take 6 months paid parental leave as a primary carer to raise my daughter from 6-12months of age. It allowed me to create a really strong bond with her and for my partner to get back to focusing on her career. My manager and wider team are really supportive, both my partner and I have careers so I was careful to work somewhere that values a balance between family and work. I have flexible work arrangements that mean I leave at 4pm every day and return online in the evening after my kids go to sleep. My colleagues are really respectful of this, so I rarely get a meeting request after this time. I also work from home 1-2 days a week to pick up and drop off my kids.
Evan Simmonds, UX Designer, REA Group
I had three weeks paid parental leave when the kids were born and another 15 weeks before they turned one. In addition, PwC has been great to allow me to work flexibly from home, revised hours and also on the go on my iPad when I need to. I always try to get home early to help my partner with the kids dinner and bath before bed (the dreaded witching hour!). I help manage this by starting work a little earlier or doing a bit after the kids have gone to sleep if I need to. Having a close support network has been important to free up time for myself and my partner to have our own downtime. Dinners and movies alone come at a premium these days, but it is just as good to share this time with the kids’.
Nick Wee, Senior Manager, PwC
Buildkite supports me in working flexible hours and prioritising family time and commitments. I can start later so that I can spend time with my daughter and get her ready for kindergarten and I often take afternoons off to help with her in the afternoons and support my partner. My partner is presently pregnant and we’re planning for me to take off two months after the birth and then the remaining month (we get three months of secondary carers leave) in 4 day weeks for a while. Being able to be present for my family in hard times like this is a huge support and means I don’t have to choose between work and family.
Lachlan Donald, Co-Founder / Chief Operation Officer, Buildkite
In my case, I used some annual leave to be at home for the first couple of weeks after my son’s birth, which was such a crucial time for us as we adjusted to our new world. Later this year, I will then become primary carer as my partner transitions back to work. This is an amazing opportunity for me to spend three months bonding with my son on fully paid leave. In addition, AustralianSuper has really good flexible work arrangements, meaning I can flex to work from home and/or out of hours. I always try to leave the office early enough to get home to play with my son before he goes to bed, and if I have extra work to do I log on once he’s gone to sleep.
Tim Harper, Senior Legal Counsel, AustralianSuper
Optus offers a flexible work environment which is fantastic. One of the best recent additions is the paid parental leave for both parents. There is an onsite crèche for Optus employees to use as well. I work from home regularly which makes a huge difference in that I am able to spend more time with my children at home. I regularly work from home which allows me to spend more time with my kids. I also do drop offs or pick ups, so flexibility in my start or end times is great. This also allows me to be there for ‘the witching hour’ to help with dinner and bedtime routines. With two young kids and a busy role at work, it is difficult to find time to spend with my wife or by myself. Thanks to the flexibility from work, we have a regular bedtime routine which means the evenings are then free for myself and my wife.
Nathan Nankivell, Talent Acquisition Manager, Optus
My direct manager, has been incredibly proactive in allowing me to determine my ideal work-life blend at any given moment, to ensure I remain successful as a father and contributor to the business, and on my terms. Zendesk also offers all parents and carers 16 weeks parental leave at full pay. Not only is this incredibly rare, but the provision makes no distinction between entitlements of primary and secondary carers. My partner and I are incredibly mindful of finding time to be ourselves together, as much as ourselves independently. With an eight month old son, we don’t always succeed in finding enough time, but are committed to helping one another find as much time to be ourselves as is possible.
Dan Mottau, Region Manager – Learning & Development (APAC), Zendesk
It’s still unusual for men to take advantage of primary carer leave and I’m really thankful to Microsoft for enabling me to have this special period together with Gigi. Microsoft has a generous primary care leave policy and it’s now possible under that policy for both parents to be primary carers at different times in the first year of the child’s life. Employers have an opportunity to normalise fathers/partners utilisation of parental leave and to create a supportive workplace culture to increase uptake of parental leave by both partners.
David Halpern, Senior Commercial Manager – Australia and APAC, Microsoft
Due to my job as a Service Engineer, I work remotely quite often for days or weeks without being able to see my baby. Being able to take primary parental leave to care for and bond with my newborn for the twelve weeks was exceptional and really meant a lot to me and my partner. We are a modern enlightened society that preaches equality in all aspects of life, so I don’t think parental leave should be excluded from this and I highly encourage every new dad to take the opportunity!
Norman Sucher, Service Engineer, Siemens
Alcoa provides a range of flexible work options, leave allowances and collaboration tools that enable remote work and family time as a working dad. Both my manager and team are extremely supportive and actively encourage family and personal time – making it an expectation, not a privilege or reward. Often I schedule family and personal commitments during work time. I’ll block out my calendar for breakfast at a café with family or an early finish to play with my daughter. Work supports me with this as I have remote computer access and can easily make up time at home.
Stephen Oliver, Capital Manager WA – Bauxite, Alcoa of Australia
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