Albanese defends social activism by businesses

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese will take the side of big business in the argument over corporate activism, when he addresses a Business Council of Australia forum today.The issue has blown up afte...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Robo-debt class action could deliver justice for tens of thousands of Australians instead of mere hundreds

The announcement by Gordon Legal of a class action to compensate victims of the government’s so-called robo-debt scheme is welcome, perhaps even groundbreaking.Standing alongside class action li...

Terry Carney, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Sydney - avatar Terry Carney, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Sydney

Media polarisation dangerous for democracy and for science: Sinodinos

Arthur Sinodinos: “One of the dangerous trends has been that the media itself has become a battleground".AAP/Mick TsikasArthur Sinodinos, former minister and Australia’s ambassador-designa...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Arthur Sinodinos with some reflections and advice

Arthur Sinodinos will soon leave the Senate, and early next year take up the position of Australian ambassador in Washington. A former staffer and one-time public servant as well as a former minister...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

XXX Neon Sign review: embodied performance about working in a Brisbane porno shop

Adelaide composer Dan Thorpe wrote and performed this piece of 'composed theatre'.Jason Tavener/BIFEM 2019Review: XXX Neon Sign, composed by Dan Thorpe, Rumpus TheatreMore than perhaps any other instr...

Melanie Walters, PhD candidate in music, University of Adelaide - avatar Melanie Walters, PhD candidate in music, University of Adelaide

Apple Arcade and Google Stadia aim to offer frictionless game streaming, if your NBN plan can handle it

Google's Stadia will be available through the Google Chrome web browser, on smartphones, smart televisions, tablets, and through Chromecast.dronepicr/Wikimedia Commons, CC BYTwo of the biggest tech co...

Steven Conway, Senior Lecturer - Games and Interactivity, Swinburne University of Technology - avatar Steven Conway, Senior Lecturer - Games and Interactivity, Swinburne University of Technology

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian avoids a spill but remains in troubled waters

Gladys Berejiklian has seen off a spill motion, but NSW politics remains a hotbed of discontent.AAP/James Gourley“How good is Gladys Berejiklian?” Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked a ju...

Andy Marks, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Strategy and Policy, Western Sydney University - avatar Andy Marks, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Strategy and Policy, Western Sydney University

The rise of 'eco-anxiety': climate change affects our mental health, too

People who have been affected by extreme weather events might experience mental health issues.From shutterstock.comThis story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 n...

Fiona Charlson, Conjoint NHMRC Early Career Fellow, The University of Queensland - avatar Fiona Charlson, Conjoint NHMRC Early Career Fellow, The University of Queensland

Climate change deniers are dangerous - they don't deserve a place on our site

Giving climate change deniers a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.At The Conversation we’ve recently vowed to improve our climate change coverage, and part of that mean...

Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation - avatar Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation

'An insult' – politicians sing the praises of the cashless welfare card, but those forced to use it disagree

The grey cashless debit card cannot be used at any alcohol or gambling outlet, nor used to withdraw cash.www.shutterstock.com“This is a bit controversial, we know that,” deputy prime minis...

Eve Vincent, Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University - avatar Eve Vincent, Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University

As pressure on Iran mounts, there is little room for quiet diplomacy to free detained Australians

Former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has offered to help free three detained Australians in Iran, but the attacks on Saudi oil facilities have made the situation vastly more complicated.Stringer/EPAAu...

Tony Walker, Adjunct Professor, School of Communications, La Trobe University - avatar Tony Walker, Adjunct Professor, School of Communications, La Trobe University

The gloves are off: 'predatory' climate deniers are a threat to our children

A child jumps from a rock outcrop into a lagoon in the low-lying Pacific island of Tuvalu.AAP/Mick TsikasIn this age of rapidly melting glaciers, terrifying megafires and ever more puissant hurricanes...

Tim Flannery, Professorial fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne - avatar Tim Flannery, Professorial fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne

Civilization: The Way We Live Now – powerful, troubling photographs of a crowded planet and uncertain future

Cyril Porchet, Swiss born 1984, Untitled 2014 from the series Crowd, inkjet print 139.0 x 169.0 x 3.5 cm.© Cyril PorchetIn 1955, an enormous photographic exhibition, The Family of Man, challenged...

Sasha Grishin, Adjunct Professor of Art History, Australian National University - avatar Sasha Grishin, Adjunct Professor of Art History, Australian National University

Keeping the city cool isn't just about tree cover – it calls for a commons-based climate response

Where’s the shade? Trees are not an immediate or whole answer to keeping cool.Cameron Tonkinwise, Author providedThis story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 2...

Abby Mellick Lopes, Senior Lecturer in Design, Western Sydney University - avatar Abby Mellick Lopes, Senior Lecturer in Design, Western Sydney University

“To all the Dads in Australia,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared in his Father’s Day message last year, “keep up the good work, because the kids of our country need the best dads possible.”

What can a government do to encourage the best fathers possible? The single greatest gift might be functional parental leave policies that actually encourage men to take time off and be active early in family life.

Right now paternity leave in Australia isn’t working for fathers. Just one in four use the two weeks’ leave available to them as “partner pay” in the first year of a child’s life. The obvious reason is it is paid at the minimum wage, which means it doesn’t resolve the conflict that fathers face in choosing between financially supporting or spending time with their families.

We need to bridge the gap, because there’s increasing evidence that encouraging fathers to take paternity leave has positive, perhaps even surprising, results.

Increasing the daddy quota

Parental leave entitlements are a combination of government and workplace arrangements, so what’s available to dads can differ. The minimum entitlement in Australia, as mentioned, is the federal government-paid “Dad and Partner Pay” (DaPP). The government also provides 18 weeks’ pay at the minimum wage to the primary care giver, but fathers claim this in just 5% of cases.

Read more: Paid parental leave plan ignores economics of well-functioning families

The tendency is for mothers to also take the bulk of leave entitlements in “shared parental leave” systems, where leave is granted to the couple, who then decide how to split it. New Zealand and Canada have such systems, and the evidence is they do not encourage fathers to take leave.

Studies suggest increasing paternity leave is associated with both fathers and mothers being happier. www.shutterstock.com

The best example is probably Sweden, a pioneer of parental leave. It introduced generous entitlements in 1974, paying up to six months in shared leave. But just 10 days were reserved for dads. Just 6% of fathers took up any of the shared leave.

In 1995 Sweden upped the “daddy quota” to bring more balance to the scheme. Now the Swedish government mandates three months’ leave as the exclusive right of either parent, with a total of 480 days in shared parental leave.

Emerging evidence

There is increasing evidence of the benefits of ensuring a “daddy quota”.

A new study tracking the outcomes of paternity leave in South Korea since 2007 concludes that taking paternity leave is positively associated with life satisfaction for both fathers and mothers.

Iceland introduced four week’s dedicated paternity leave in 2001. A 2018 study of 600 families compared the relationship stability of couples who had children just after the reform with those who had children just before (and who were therefore ineligible). The researchers found fathers taking the leave was associated with significantly less relationship breakdown. Their divorce rate was 8.3% lower five years, and 3.4% 15 years later.

One probable reason for these surprising results is indicated in a 2014 Swedish study that suggests fathers’ taking more parental leave leads to greater later sharing of childcare and housework. The study, based on surveys of 235 women and 154 men, found there was subsequently more equal division of responsibilities when dads took more than a month’s paternity leave.

Improving the system

Given the opportunity, most fathers would like to take more family leave. In a 2014 survey of 1,000 new Australian dads who had taken DaPP leave, 75% said they wished they could have taken more leave. In more than half the cases, the reason was affordability. More than a quarter also reported experiencing discrimination when requesting or taking parental leave.

Given the emerging evidence of long-term positive benefits for families, we need to talk about ways to increase the daddy quota.

Read more: Fathers also want to ‘have it all,’ study says

Designing parental leave systems isn’t easy. Getting the balance right is hard. There are significant equity debates. Who pays? Is it more equitable to pay a flat or minimum rate? Is it more effective to peg the rate to an individual’s salary? Should there be a deadline on when leave is taken? The Swedish system, for example, gives parent seven years, recognising that children’s needs don’t diminish once they can feed themselves.

But if we truly want the best dads possible, we should be discussing how to support them with more than words.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/fathers-days-increasing-the-daddy-quota-in-parental-leave-makes-everyone-happier-122047