In March 2019, QBE launched their paid parental leave initiative ‘Share the Care’. This new policy eliminated the gendered terms of “primary” and “secondary” carer, and instead offered its existing 12-weeks paid parental leave to every new parent – acknowledging the important roles all parents play within a working family.

In the new policy employees have the option of taking their parental leave in different ways – for example, the 12-weeks can be used by taking two-weeks leave at the time of the child’s birth and following that with one, two or three day-week portions. Some may choose to take two days of parental leave a week for 25 consecutive weeks. This flexibility is available within a 24-month period following the arrival of the child.

At QBE men now represent 27% of parents at QBE taking parental leave, compared to only 10% before the policy was implemented. This is equivalent to one in four men now taking parental leave, up from one in ten 12 months ago. Further to this, the number of men taking the 12 weeks leave in one full block as doubled.

“QBE’s significant uplift of men accessing parental leave since the new scheme is evidence that fathers do want the opportunity to share the care and if they are supported to take leave, they will. When we normalise and de-stigmatise ‘sharing the caring’ within workplace culture, employees have an equal opportunity to meet work and family demands”.

– Emma Walsh, CEO Parents At Work

When men are encouraged to share the care through progressive, best practice policy and supportive workplace cultures it allows men and women to pursue their career and family life goals with flexibility and opportunity.

From QBE . . .

Vivek Bhatia, CEO, QBE Australia Pacific said that the first-year results are reassuring that gender-equal policies, like Share the Care, are one way to address and work towards gender-equality within corporate Australia, and in the home.

“I’m delighted to see that our gender-equal parenting policy has delivered the results we hoped to see, in particular the impact for our male employees who now have the flexibility to access leave in a way that meets their unique needs and enable them to play an important role in the wellbeing of working families.

The key highlights over the one-year period since the policy was launched include:

  • A 300+ per cent uplift in the number of men taking paid parental leave.
  • Male representation of employees taking paid parental leave has increased significantly from one in 10 (10 per cent) to over one in four (27 per cent).
  • The number of men accessing the 12-weeks paid parental leave in a full-time block has doubled.
  • The game changer has been the ability to access the paid parental leave allowance flexibly, for example taking two days of parental leave a week, which has seen male participation thrive.

Read the full press release below for the full statement by QBE.

Press Release: QBE gender-equal parental scheme sees 300% uplift in men sharing the care

In March 2019, QBE became the first general insurer in Australia to adopt a gender-equal, flexible paid parental leave scheme – Share the Care – with the aim of making parenting, career breaks and flexible working business as usual for both men and women.

Twelve months later, the insurer is proud to announce that the policy has resulted in a 300+ per cent uplift in male employees taking paid parental leave, with men now representing over a quarter (27 per cent) of parents in the organisation accessing paid parental leave.

This is a stark increase from the 12-month period prior to the launch of Share the Care, where only 10 per cent of QBE parents accessing parental leave were male. Australia-wide, statistics show that less than 5 per cent of men across the country elect to take primary carers leave[1].

Vivek Bhatia, CEO, QBE Australia Pacific said that the first-year results are reassuring that gender-equal policies, like Share the Care, are one way to address and work towards gender-equality within corporate Australia, and in the home.

“I’m delighted to see that our gender-equal parenting policy has delivered the results we hoped to see, in particular the impact for our male employees who now have the flexibility to access leave in a way that meets their unique needs and enable them to play an important role in the wellbeing of working families.

“When you look at our workforce as a whole, the fact that over a quarter of those now accessing paid parental leave are men is a truly encouraging figure. We’ve taken the step to normalise caring and flexibility for all families and sent a strong and overdue message that we can only achieve gender equality in the workplace when both men and women have equal opportunities to thrive in their career, and at home.”

The key highlights over the one-year period since the policy was launched include:

  • A 300+ per cent uplift in the number of men taking paid parental leave.
  • Male representation of employees taking paid parental leave has increased significantly from one in 10 (10 per cent) to over one in four (27 per cent).
  • The number of men accessing the 12-weeks paid parental leave in a full-time block has doubled.
  • The game changer has been the ability to access the paid parental leave allowance flexibly, for example taking two days of parental leave a week, which has seen male participation thrive.

Mr Bhatia continued: “The introduction of equality within paid parental leave policies is instrumental in breaking down career barriers for women and enabling men to take a more active parenting role. But more than that, it’s not enough to just have a policy and not work to embed this into the organisational culture.

“We understand there are barriers that prevent men from taking paid parental leave, which in turn impacts on women’s career trajectories once they become a parent. We have encouraged our senior male leaders to role model this initiative and show others it’s ok to prioritise family. All parents play a critical role in family wellbeing and we’re proud that Share the Care has enabled more working families to be present in those important early years”.

CEO of Parents At Work, Emma Walsh, established the Advancing Parental Leave Equality Network (APLEN) urging employers to adopt a gender-equal paid parental leave scheme to increase the number of fathers taking leave and working flexibly.

Ms Walsh said: “QBE’s significant uplift of men accessing parental leave since the new scheme is evidence that fathers do want the opportunity to share the care and if they are supported to take leave, they will. When we normalise and de-stigmatise ‘sharing the caring’ within workplace culture, employees have an equal opportunity to meet work and family demands”.

Click here to learn more about the Share the Care initiative, available to all QBE families.

[1] http://parentsandcarersatwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/PAW_White-Paper-Parental-Leave-Equality.pdf