Per recent research, Australia’s workplace culture hinders male workers from requesting flexible working hours to spend time with family.
Dr Ashlee Borgkvist, a researcher for the University of South Australia, discovered plenty of Australian fathers were pressured from their workplace to not take advantage of the time off for family reasons. Borgkvist suggests workplace flexibility is a more common option for mothers, whereas fathers are often excluded.
While dads are praised for going to work to provide for their families, they are also discouraged from using flexibility while doing it.
Dr Borgkvist further stated that Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme was gender-neutral, but male participation decreased due to the stigma around male employees taking parental leave.
The researcher also points out that many new fathers feel like they should prove their loyalty to the job by avoiding flexibility. In fact, 70% of fathers who took parental leave had already gone back to work after two weeks.
Additional 2019-2020 Workplace Gender Equality Agency stats show that just 6.5% of Aussies using primary care parental leave were men, and only 2.2% of organizations are making efforts for male inclusion in flexible work.
Available data shows that if fathers are offered well-compensated and extended parental leave, it’s highly probable they will use it.
According to Dr Borgkvist, changes in culture are necessary to overcome inequality, and these can only be reached with the help of social policies backed by business practice.