1 September 2019

Men need to take more parental leave: “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.” Recent studies link increased paternal leave with more equal division of housework (even years later), greater life satisfaction for both partners, and lower divorce rates. Setting up the father’s involvement is important for their kids, too: “Toddlers whose fathers play with them with warmth and encouragement go on to have better results in maths and reading in primary school… in addition to other benefits for the child’s emotional regulation, social adjustment and mental health… The specific activities were less important than the quality of the play and father’s degree of involvement.”