A change in parental leave policy by Transgrid has prompted a surge in the number of men taking parental leave to be primary carers.
04 September 2023
In March 2022 Transgrid announced a change in parental leave policy providing all parents with access to 20 weeks paid primary carer leave (or 40 weeks at half pay), regardless of gender.
Since the policy change was made the number of employees taking parental leave at Transgrid has more than doubled, with men leading the charge.
Transgrid CEO Brett Redman said: “We know that when all parents, including men, have equal access to be primary carers, the playing field is levelled, enabling women to return to the workforce and for the parenting load to be shared.
“Just four years ago we had zero men taking parental leave as a primary carer but since we changed our policy 58% of those taking this leave have been men, which is really encouraging to see.”
Transgrid also offers the option to take parental leave part-time, which has been very popular.
Field Coordinator Mitchell Coppock, who is based in Newcastle, has been with Transgrid for almost 17 years and all 3 of his daughters have been born while he was working for the transmission network.
Mitchell’s youngest daughter Emmy was born in November 2022 and he is currently taking parental leave 2 days a week to care for her and his other two daughters while his wife returns to work.
“It has been so beneficial for our family to have that flexibility as we otherwise wouldn’t be able to get care for our girls and without that support from Transgrid, my wife wouldn’t have been able to return to work and continue in her career.
“When my first daughter was born back in 2017, I was only able to take 4 weeks off, but now I can have much more time to spend with our girls and share in all those small moments. I can also help take the pressure off my wife in caring for them and running our home. It has been a real gamechanger for us,” he said.
Mitchell is one of 32 men at Transgrid who’ve taken primary carer parental leave in the past 12 months.
Transgrid’s flexible parenting leave is also encouraging parents to reconsider how they work.
Energy Transition Specialist Li-Wen Yip took parental leave part-time in 2021 after his son Alfred was born.
“Taking parental leave to be a primary carer for my son was the best thing I’ve ever done, easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. You only get the time when your children are young once, and you can’t put a price on the chance to bond with them, and I am so glad I did it,” he said.
After completing his leave Li-Wen requested to return to work part-time on a permanent basis to allow his wife to also return to work.
“Now we both work part-time and share the care for our son equally while building our relationship on being equal partners in everything, being equal partners in parenting and having equal impact on taking time off our careers. It keeps our relationship strong by supporting one another,” he said.
Transgrid says the gender-neutral parental leave policy also provides LGBTQIA+ employees equal access to options for balancing caring and career responsibilities, regardless of their parenting role.
CEO Brett Redman said the parental leave policy is one important way to attract and retain the best talent and to support all parents.
“This is about normalising parental leave and we want to make sure our culture of supporting 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
“We’re proud to have a culture that encourages and supports our people to take parental leave and we give them the flexibility they need to support their families,” he said.
Read more about Li-Wen's parental leave experience here.