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Male dominated industries lead the way on parental leave

08 March 2013 By ASU

Recently the Workplace Gender Equality Agency reported that their research shows many male dominated industries are offering better than average conditions for parents. The ASU is proud to say that industries where we are the major union, for example: electricity, water and waste services (ie. local government), have the highest rate of paid maternity and paid paternity leave in the country.

The ASU recognises that work-life balance is a key issue for our members, both male and female, so we ensure that our bargaining and other activities retain a focus on parental leave, as well as other important issues.

Find out more about the results of the research in the media release reproduced below, with links to tables.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is an Australian Government statutory authority which aims to improve gender equality in Australian workplaces.

Media release of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency

[You can also read the media release on the WGEA website]

A number of male dominated industries are offering higher than average paid maternity and paternity leave entitlements in addition to the government funded paid parental leave scheme according to new data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (the Agency).

The male dominated electricity, gas, water and waste services industry has the highest proportion of organisations offering paid maternity leave. Almost nine out of 10 organisations offer employer funded paid maternity leave and the average length of time on offer is above average at 10.8 weeks (average across all industries is 9.7 weeks). In addition, two thirds of organisations offer employer funded paid paternity leave.

Helen Conway, Director of Workplace Gender Equality said: "Anecdotally we know many male dominated sectors are being constrained by considerable skills shortages and low levels of female participation, and are looking to tackle these issues with attractive employee benefits like generous paid parental leave entitlements."

In the mining industry, 60% of organisations offer employer funded paid maternity leave, which is above the average of all other industries. An additional 23.1% of organisations told the Agency they planned to introduce paid maternity leave in next 12 months. The length of employer funded paid maternity leave on offer is also above average at 12.1 weeks, compared to an average of 9.7 weeks.

"In addition to helping organisations attract and retain talent, employer funded paid parental leave can also provide a reputational advantage by positioning an employer as family friendly and willing to ‘do the right thing’ by staff - attributes often valued by clients, customers and other stakeholders.

"The government has also recognised paid parental leave is an important driver of female workforce participation, which in turn has a positive impact on economic productivity. These sectors should be congratulated for leading the way in this area," Ms Conway said.

In contrast, some female dominated industries are less family friendly when it comes to providing paid parental leave entitlements. The retail industry provides lower than average paid maternity leave when compared to other industries at 8.1 weeks, and only one in five retail organisations fund additional paid paternity leave.

In the accommodation and food services industry (where just over half of employees are women) only one in six organisations offer paid maternity leave, and only one in 10 offer paid paternity leave â€" the lowest incidence of employer funded paid maternity leave and paternity leave across all industries.

However, the female dominated education and training industry offers the highest average length of paid maternity leave at 13 weeks in addition to the government-funded paid parental leave scheme.

Helen Conway said the recently introduced Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act) will enable the Agency to get a more detailed picture of the status of gender equality in Australian organisations from 2014.

"Business has been crying out for robust industry benchmarks against which they can measure their gender equality performance and the new Act should enable the Agency to meet that demand."

Download the all industries snapshot here

Contact Details
Name: David Smith, ASU National Secretary
Telephone: 03 9342 1400