More men than women have taken paid parental leave at professional services firm Accenture over the past year, with 272 dads accessing the 18 weeks of fully paid leave available, compared to 115 mums.
In 2016, just 56 men at the firm took parental leave.
It means Accenture has seen a 330% 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 at Accenture 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’ leave himself to spend time 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,” Easton says.
At Accenture, the policy enables “all permanent full-time and part-time employees of all gender identities” to access 18 weeks’ 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.
This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.