More men than women have taken paid parental leave at Accenture over the past year, with 272 dads accessing the 18 weeks of fully paid leave available, compared to 115 mums. Just 56 men took leave in 2016.
It means the professional services firm has seen a 330 per cent increase in men accessing leave over the past four years — mostly due to a new policy offering 18 weeks of fully paid parental leave to ALL new parents, introduced in November 2018.
It’s an excellent result, offering direct figures on the impact of paid parental leave equality policies, which a number of major employers have been moving to introduce over the past couple of years to promote better shared care at home.
This massive uptick also means that more dads are seeing other dads taking parental leave, helping to end the stigma that some research finds can prevent men from asking to take time out.
Gareth Shaw, a managing director in Accentures Financial Services practice, says that he’s been noticing more dads accessing the leave, helping to normalise it across the firm. Having just taken three and a half months himself to spend with his new daughter, he also believes the policy is exactly the kind of thing that’s needed for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accenture’s country manager Bob Easton said in a statement that the improvement is proof that change is underway. “It is essential for us to normalise men being active carers in order to level the professional playing field, and we may see this being accelerated as a result of COVID-19.”
At Accenture, the policy enables “all permanant full time and part-time employees of all gender identiies” to access 18 week’s paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child that’s newly under parental care. Prior to November 2018, staff could access 13 weeks.
There is no minimum time in employment before staff are able to access the leave, and it can be taken at full pay or at half pay in order to double the duration period. Superannuation is paid during parental leave, and annual leave, personal leave and long service leave can also be accrued during the period.