Medibank has reported a dramatic shift in the number of men taking parental leave since the company introduced a new policy.
The company said the percentage of male employees taking parental leave for more than two weeks has risen from 2.5 per cent to 33 per cent.
"Men hadn’t felt comfortable asking for leave, many worrying how it might look or fearing it could jeopardise career prospects," said the company.
The policy updated two years ago entitles parents regardless of gender to 14 weeks of leave within the first 24 months of their child coming into the home. It also provides external and confidential executive coaching to all new parents, ensuring they can still invest in their career whilst on leave.
Medibank has been recognised two years in a row as one of the best workplaces for dads – this year taking out third place - after an analysis of Australia’s largest 500 companies by Direct Advice for Dads and CoreData.
The company highlighted the experience of senior executive Nick Bailey, who is taking 14 weeks parental leave to spend with his 3 young children, aged 5, 3 and 1.
“The policy change has given me the opportunity to spend extended time with my kids. It’s time I haven’t had before and won’t have again,” said Mr Bailey.
“It’s also been incredibly valuable as my wife is heading back to work when I start my leave and having one of us at home will help make her transition back easier.”
The company also said it is retaining 75 per cent of its employees 12 months after they return from parental leave.
"People are now comfortable asking to work flexibly - working from home or with flexible start and finish times so they can get to school pick up or an appointment with their children," said the company.