Supporting gender-neutral parental leave

Transgrid supports gender-neutral parental leave

17 February 2023

According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s Employer Census, men only accounted for ` of the primary carer’s leave taken last year. The overall number remained low even though we are seeing an encouraging uptick in men in manager roles taking parental leave.

Proportion of primary carer’s leave taken by women and men

Credit: Australia’s Gender Equality Scorecard 2022


In 2021-22, 62% of employers offers access to employer funded paid parental leave in addition to the current Australian Government Parental Leave Pay Scheme. Under this government scheme, fathers are only entitled to two weeks of ‘Dad and Partner Pay’, but the federal government is currently examining major paid parental leave changes that could provide up 20 weeks of paid leave for men after their partners give birth.

Apart from the more obvious economic challenges that are stopping fathers from taking leave, the social challenges such as gender norms and workplace culture can have just as much impact on the utilisation of employer-funded paid parental leave, despite the fact that men do want to be more involved in the lives of their children.

Benefits of fathers taking parental leave

The benefits of fathers taking parental leave are well-documented. WEGA’s Insight Paper has shown that when parental leave is taken by men it is beneficial to individuals, families and organisations:

  • Benefits to mothers: father or partner involvement in childcare may provide mothers with a stronger sense of well-being and an enhanced ability to balance work and life commitments
  • Benefits to fathers and partners: Fathers’ involvement in childcare has been linked to improved well-being, happiness and increases their commitment to family. They also report learning new skills such as prioritising, role modelling and compassion which they transfer to the workplace
  • Benefits to children: child development outcomes improve when fathers are actively involved in caregiving. Further, children who have parents that model gender equality are more likely to carry these new norms forward
  • Benefits to organisations: When fathers and partners take parental leave, organisations report better recruitment, retention and promotion rates, leading to stronger performance and productivity outputs

We know that traditionally fathers are conscious of the stigma and bias around taking extended leave, especially when they are unable to see many of their male colleagues taking leave. At Transgrid, we’re proud to have an organisational culture that encourages and supports fathers to take parental leave – last year, 62% of our people taking primary carer parental leave were men.

We are committed to building awareness of our parental leave policies so that fathers know what is available to them and feel safe to take their leave. We want to make sure our culture of supporting our men to take parental leave continues to grow, by encouraging fathers in leadership positions to take leave and lead by example to remove any bias within the workplace, as well as promoting the experiences of male role models who have taken leave and returned to work

Father holding a baby - parental leave

Employee story: Alex Hamilton

Alex's friendly face has been around Transgrid for 11 years in the Transmission Lines space. Read on to learn more about his story and his experiences on taking parental leave!

What’s your story?

I live in sunny Newcastle with my wife, our 1-year-old daughter and our dog called Stan. I enjoy time with friends and family, exercise, outdoors, chipping away at home improvement projects and ripping into some gardening.

My Transgrid story started 11 years ago as an apprentice lines worker where I learnt skills, had plenty of adventures and made lots of good memories. I had a few good years spent working as a liney and then as a site manager on Transmission Line projects. Two years ago, I moved from a field based role that had me living away from home most of the time, to project management which has been very supportive of my current life stage.

Alex Hamilton

What type of parental leave did you take, and how has it affected you and/or your partner? 

I have been taking primary carer’s leave on a part time basis, which has been a wonderful opportunity for my family. While this leave has done the obvious logistical things such as delay the need for paid childcare and allowed my wife to return to work, it’s also done a lot more than that. My wife gets her pre-mum identity back, she’s happy knowing I’m looking after our daughter and that I’m appreciating how difficult it can be to get through the day with a baby. It has been a good opportunity to help normalise dads taking parental leave, and since taking leave I have shared my experience with others so hopefully more dads will take it up. Most importantly for me, I have this important time with my daughter.

Alex Hamilton's daughter

How can men support the careers of women in Transgrid?

Take parental leave. The more that dads take parental leave, the more we squash the stereotype that parental leave is a women thing.

Some other rapid-fire ideas: catch yourself and challenge others when expressing gender biases, include the women in your team in all communications, ensure your female colleagues voices are heard and give women credit for their work.