Creating a more flexible and inclusive parental leave policy

7 September 2021

In 2020 Stanwell introduced important updates to its parental leave entitlements to better support gender equity, diversity, and inclusion – and provide the dads in our workforce with an important opportunity to take more leave after the birth of their child.

Stanwell recognises the importance of providing equal access to paid parental leave based on primary carer status, rather than the gender of the parent.

Last year, the Stanwell employee entitlement of 14 weeks paid maternity leave was extended to any employee who is a primary carer of the child, irrespective of gender (Paid Primary Carer’s Leave) and subject to the existing eligibility requirements (like having worked for Stanwell for 12 months’ before the leave commences).

This approach not only acknowledges that it is not always the birth mother who is the primary carer, but importantly, is also more inclusive to fathers and our employee parents who may identify as LGBTQI+.

Senior Market Analyst, Joe Hemingway, is one of the first dads at Stanwell to take advantage of the new parental leave policy and recently returned to work after 14 weeks off.

“This was our second, so we know how the baby routine goes,” Joe said.

“But it’s a different dynamic now with an older child — they both still expect the same amount of attention.

“I really enjoyed the additional time I was able to spend with my kids — especially trips to the park, playing games, and taking my daughter to swimming lessons. One thing I learned was that the everyday domestic duties of raising children takes more time out of your day than I thought!”

To be eligible for the 14 weeks paid primary carer’s leave, one parent assumes the principal role of providing care at a time, giving their partner a chance to get back to work and share caring duties.

“My wife went back to work full time in this period, which is a condition of the paid parental leave,” Joe said.

“The role reversal did take some time to get used to, but it really made me appreciate what the other person has to do every day.”

A lot can happen in 14 weeks.

“Over the course of my parental leave, our baby girl Evelyn went from barely rolling over to crawling around the house at a pretty alarming rate, which was special to see.

“By the end of my leave, Evelyn only liked to be held by me (much to my wife’s disappointment) and I became a pro at packing a nappy bag,” Joe laughed.

Joe provided some tips for others planning on taking parental leave.

“With two young children you really don’t have much time to yourself (I have more at work!), but I was probably warned about that.

“Another would be that you can easily feel isolated if you are used to seeing your peers every day, so it’s worth trying to arrange regular catchups with family and friends,” Joe said, although he admitted, “this is easier said than done if everyone else is at work, and there are lockdowns!”