New Research: Top 20 Australian Workplaces for Dads in 2020

For the third year running, HBF’s Direct Advice for Dads took a deep dive into Australian workplaces to find the most dad-friendly employers. This year, we also checked in with working dads to get their insight into what they’re thinking and feeling about the support they and their families receive from work.

What we learned is it’s nearly impossible to predict the results from year to year. Australian companies are moving fast to improve parental benefits, especially for dads. The top dad-friendly companies in Australia have picked up the pace and commitment to gender-neutral policies in their workplace, with nearly half of the companies listed making no distinction between paid parental leave for primary and secondary carers.

More companies are offering dads the opportunity to take over as primary carer–18 percent, compared to only 11 percent in 2018. In addition, the number of weeks available for secondary carer paid leave benefits has increased. All employers in the 2020 list provide at least four week’s paid parental leave for secondary carers, double the minimum required for eligibility.

Surprisingly, we also learned new dads aren’t always aware of their paid parental leave benefits, a worrying situation that could potentially impact working families and employee retention.


Eligibility requirements for companies meeting our dad-friendly workplace criteria

Once again, HBF teamed up with research consultancy CoreData to analyse parental benefits for fathers working in Australia’s largest companies based on revenue, according to the IBISWorld 500 list.

To make the list, companies had to meet four criteria:

  • provide no less than two weeks’ paid secondary carer’s leave, and
  • provide a minimum of 12 weeks’ paid primary carer’s leave, and
  • offer flexible work practices regarding flexible hours and work-from-home policies, and
  • have a “pass-the-baton” policy where the primary carer’s leave is available for a minimum of 12 months after the arrival of a baby, allowing dads to assume a paid primary carer role when their partners return to work.

In 2020, 75 companies met our eligibility criteria for dad-friendly workplaces. That’s a sizeable increase of 70 percent over 2018’s field of 44 and a hefty boost of 14 percent from 2019’s list of 66 companies. We then ranked companies on the length of their paid secondary carer’s leave, since this is the most important benefit for new dads. Then we considered the length of paid primary carer’s leave, flexible working policies, the number of dads taking primary carer leave in the organisation, and any additional parent and childcare services available to all employees.

HBF’s Direct Advice For Dads is pleased to publish “20 Best Australian Workplaces for New Dads 2020”.

1) Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Deloitte Australia remained in the number one position for the second year in a row. Deloitte has intentionally removed all labels like maternity, paternity, primary, or secondary carer and simply refer to their policies as “parental leave”. Each employee can take paid parental leave over a 36-month period, in a range of flexible ways, including on a part-time, weekly basis allowing every family to tailor parental leave to suit their own needs.

In addition, Deloitte offers comprehensive return-to-work transition support which includes three individual tailored coaching sessions. Of Deloitte’s new parents recently surveyed, 92% reported an increase in work-life satisfaction as a result of the coaching.

“Being a great place to work for families of all shapes and sizes, including birth, adoptive, surrogate, foster and same-sex parents is a key focus for us at Deloitte,” said Margaret Dreyer, Deloitte’s National Lead Partner, Inclusion, Diversity & Wellbeing.

“We are proud of the commitment we have made to ensuring shared care is part of our DNA, and since its introduction, we’ve seen an increase in the utilisation of our parental leave policy by our male workforce, from 20% to 40%. “

  • Paid parental leave: 18 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Number of employees: 9017

Twin pregnancy makes parental benefits extra important to a new family

Kurt Ferrier Twins 2

“I took the Parental Leave entitlement when the girls were 15 months old on a flexible arrangement where I worked three days per week and had two days off to be the primary carer while my wife returned to work. Having one-on-two time was great so that I could develop my own little bond with the twins.” Kurt Ferreira, Director in the Public Advisory team within Deloitte’s Financial Advisory practice


2) Hollard Insurance Company

Hollard Insurance Company meets the gold standard for dads by delivering a workplace enabling all employees to flexibly bring their whole selves to work, empowering them to do their best work. The parental leave is inclusive of all family structures including LGBTI relationships and includes adoption, surrogacy, fostering, and kinship arrangements. Hollard’s leave allocations are also valid in the event of stillbirth or infant death, with no clawback clause. An additional 52 weeks of unpaid leave is available to new parents and superannuation is paid throughout both periods.

“Our journey towards ‘Bigger, Better, Best’, means we see diversity and inclusion as our core strength,” said Group CEO Richard Enthoven.

 “It’s not just a box we tick. We strive to nurture diversity of thought and equity in everything we do, to help embed an environment of psychological safety and cognitive diversity for each other and our customers. We are all committed to creating a safe and inclusive workplace.”

  • Paid Parental Leave: 18 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: General Insurance
  • Number of employees: 585

New dad feeling reinvigorated for work responsibilities after parental leave


“Hollard’s Parental Leave has enabled me to spend time with my daughter while at the same time giving my wife the opportunity to catch up with friends, recharge and pick up her hobbies again. It also has given me the opportunity to rest and mentally recharge, now feeling reinvigorated for tackling my work responsibilities and being a better version of myself when I get back to the office.” Jack Joubert, Hollard Commercial Insurance CEO, Sydney


3) Telstra

Telstra’s Australian parental leave policy gives every parent, regardless of gender, the ability to share caring responsibilities while maintaining their career in a way that’s really flexible–they can take it in one block or multiple blocks and it can also be used to return to work on a part-time basis.

Alex Badenoch, Telstra Group Executive of Transformation, Communications and People, says having a diverse and inclusive workplace is important to the telecommunications giant, as is giving employees flexibility with where and how they work.

“Most of our teams have a choice with where and how they work, and the technology to help them do their best work, wherever they are,” Badenoch said.

“Equal and shared parenting leads to better gender equality in the workplace and reflects our changing society where both parents contribute to caring and family commitments.

“We expanded this policy over a year ago and it’s had a really positive effect on the lives of new parents at Telstra.”

  • Paid parental leave:16 weeks
  • Headquarters: Melbourne, VIC
  • Industry: Telecommunication Services
  • Number of employees: 28,959

We had no idea how life-changing becoming parents would be


“Bringing our daughter, Grace, into the world in the midst of a pandemic was not what we expected, with Sasha being a physician and going to back to work much earlier and with far greater intensity than we had planned, treating patients on Victoria’s COVID frontline response. Telstra’s parental leave program has enabled our family to feel safe, reassured and, for me, to focus on raising our beautiful daughter, and for that, we will be forever grateful.” Mark Soffer, Principle–Strategic Development, Melbourne


4) ING

ING is dedicated to supporting dads by ensuring families are supported at home and at work. In addition to a generous gender-neutral paid parental leave policy, the savings bank supports flexible work schedules including working from home, varying start and finish times and empowering employees to manage their work in a way that best suits them and their family.

“Our policy supports any Australian modern family by removing the bias between primary and secondary carer and giving both parents an equal 14 weeks’ paid parental leave–taken when and how it suits them with flex,” said ING Australia CEO Melanie Evans.

“The number of ING dads taking more than two weeks’ parental leave has increased fourfold since our industry-leading policy came into effect in September 2019. We’ve made it clear that we expect dads to take paid parental leave to spend time with children and help with caring responsibilities.”

  • Paid parental leave:14 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Foreign Banks
  • Number of employees: 1385

The best part is the flexibility–you can use it in a way that works for your family


“Returning from leave has been a smooth transition, as I’m still at home and working from the spare room. Being able to take those early weeks of leave has allowed me to be more productive and focused now that I’ve returned to work, as I feel I have the right balance between work and family.” Dean Sapcas, Chapter Lead


5) Medibank Private

Three years ago, Medibank introduced its new approach to parental leave, a gender-neutral policy where all prospective parents have equal access to 14 weeks’ paid parental leave. In that time, the business has seen an uptick in male participation in the leave program and increased levels of employee engagement.

 According to Kylie Bishop, Group Executive People and Culture, in FY20 the proportion of men participating in parental leave longer than two weeks was 10 times higher than before the policy was introduced. Employees returning from parental leave continue to report engagement levels three percent higher than other employees.

 “From the executive level down, we encourage and support new dads to take more than two week’s leave because we know that often it isn’t enough when you’ve welcomed a new baby into the family.

“There’s also been a seismic cultural shift. Dads are far more at ease when sharing stories of their family and feel more secure in their jobs whilst playing a greater role in their family. We saw that this year, with increased homeschooling due to COVID restrictions forcing schools to close.”

  •  Paid parental leave:14 weeks
  • Headquarters: Melbourne, VIC
  • Industry: Health Insurance
  • Number of employees: 2064

Parental leave policy creates stronger bonds for dads and bubs  


 “I chose to take the leave when my wife was returning to work, so her transition was easier and she could concentrate on her job rather than juggle a new day care routine. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I developed a stronger bond with my daughter and got to experience pivotal moments that I could have missed had I not participated in the parental leave program.” Andrew Day, Health, Safety & Wellbeing Business Partner


6) AustralianSuper

AustralianSuper actively encourages all employees to take enhanced parental leave benefits. Their family-friendly policies require no minimum employment tenure and make no distinction between primary and secondary carers. As a result of their gender-neutral policies, there has been a surge in uptake across all levels of employment.

AustralianSuper plans to continue looking at opportunities for additional ways to support parents in achieving balance and allowing them to contribute at home and in the office.

  • Paid parental leave:14 weeks
  • Headquarters: Melbourne, VIC
  • Industry: Superannuation Funds
  • Number of employees: 878

Work-life balance allows mum to return to frontline medical work


“I took leave initially when my second child was firstborn, and then throughout the first 24 months. This allowed me to better connect with the family and feel like a better father and a better partner, plus the overall mental health benefits that come with that.” Chris Cramond, AustralianSuper Head of Analytics, Insights and Measurements


7) Novartis Australia

From January 2021, all Novartis employees around the world will benefit from a minimum of 14 weeks’ paid parental leave following the birth, surrogacy or adoption of a child, effective from their first day of employment. The global pharmaceutical giant promotes greater equity for birthing and non-birthing parents and gives everyone the flexibility and opportunity to make choices appropriate for their families.

“We offer the same parental leave to all parents, regardless of gender or LGBTIQ+ identity and we see it as a driver of equality. Since introducing the enhanced Novartis Parental Leave policy, we have been encouraged to see even more diversity in those taking parental leave,” said Susan Whipps, Country Head of People and Organisation, Novartis Australia and New Zealand.

“For dads, in particular, they get time they might not have been able to otherwise have to bond with their new child. Plus it’s a win-win scenario as it also promotes equal responsibility when it comes to parental duties, which is great for their partner too.”

  • Paid parental leave:14 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Pharmaceuticals Wholesaling
  • Number of employees: 609

Lasting memories for first-time dad


 “Being responsible for all IT services at Novartis Australia and New Zealand, managing operations, projects, cybersecurity and technology, it’s fair to say that I am used to a pretty full day. Looking after a child was one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I have done and the memories I have created with my boy (even though he might not remember) will be engraved in my heart and mind forever.” Menaka De Alwis, IT Country Lead / Business Relationship Manager, Novartis Australia & New Zealand


8) Sanofi Australia & New Zealand

Sanofi provides gender-neutral policies with 12 weeks’ paid parental leave, subsidised childcare services, and a range of other benefits for new parents. Sanofi also offers flexible working to help growing families. Family-friendly policies include continuation of superannuation contributions, long service accrual, and school holiday care called Camp Sanofi.

 Michelle Zimany, Director of Human Resources at Sanofi Australia & New Zealand, said the company’s Parental Leave Policy was inclusive for all employees wanting to start a family.

“We have evolved our policies to become gender-neutral and family-friendly to reflect our company values. We understand the role employee wellbeing plays in retaining and nurturing the best talent, which is why we’re constantly looking for improvements that will benefit everyone.

“Our Parental Leave Policy applies to all our employees and is inclusive of those seeking adoption, surrogacy, fostering and same-sex parenting.”

  • Paid parental leave:12 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Pharmaceuticals Wholesaling
  • Number of employees: 718

Having more kids is easier due to employer parental benefits


 “Thanks to Sanofi, I feel I’ve bonded with my children in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without that extra time off. We also felt financially secure having an income that meant my wife could start her own business while I looked after the kids.” Ron Lane, Supply Chain Business Partner at Sanofi Australia and New Zealand


9) Google Australia

Google Australia is committed to making diversity, equity, and inclusion part of everything they do. This includes flexible work arrangements, extended caregiver’s leave and a myriad of helpful parenting resources. The internet company’s family-friendly policies are designed to contribute to a supportive workplace and extend to adoption and surrogacy.

“As a company, we value family and we understand the importance of supporting our employees, regardless of gender or family composition, when they are embarking on different life stages,” said Jessica Campbell, Market HR Lead, Google Australia and New Zealand.  

“This is why we work hard to ensure our policies are inclusive, from offering flexible leave arrangements to family-friendly benefits such as parental leave where Googlers can enjoy the flexibility and choice to take leave at any time during the first 12 months of their child being born.”

  • Paid secondary carer’s leave:12 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:18 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Internet Service Providers
  • Number of employees: 1841

Inclusive parental leave policy makes attending surrogate birth possible


“Google’s generous leave policies allowed me to take 5 months off work when our son was born. This was especially important to us as he was born prematurely, in America. This time off allowed us to spend real, quality time together as a family, while also allowing us to come back to Australia at our own pace.” Joel Lohrey, Head of Business & Operations, Chrome OS, Google Australia and New Zealand (left in photo)


10) QBE Insurance Group

QBE provides 12 weeks’ paid parental leave that can be taken over the course of a 24-month period. The gender-neutral policy is inclusive of all employees and families including same-sex couples and with the additional inclusions of stillborn, permanent placement foster care, and surrogacy.

“At QBE, we’re committed to working on initiatives that actively work to remove the barriers to success, which is why we launched our gender-equal paid parental leave policy, Share the Care, back in 2019,” said Frank Costigan, Interim Managing Director, QBE Australia

“We found that by actively encouraging gender-equal parenting – and creating the policies that enable this – the male representation of QBE parents taking parental leave has dramatically increased from 8 per cent to 37 per cent today. The feedback we’ve received on Share the Care indicates that parental leave for men improves their family’s wellbeing, with the confidence of knowing they are being supported to spend time with their families in a way that works best for them.”

  • Paid parental leave:12 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: General Insurance
  • Number of employees: 3045

Flexible paid parental leave makes it possible to share the load at home


“The benefits of my “Daddy Day” have been incredible; my oldest absolutely loves being dropped off and picked up from daycare by his dad, he gets so excited when he sees me pull up in the car. I also get to spend time with my youngest during daylight hours, which before this scheme, was something usually only reserved for weekends and holidays. Most importantly though, my wife is now able to get some time out to mentally and physically recharge, and catch up on work on her own business. Vernon Griffith, Global Head of HR Service Design & Delivery, QBE Insurance


11) Tabcorp

Tabcorp parental benefits are designed to be fully inclusive of all genders and cater to any way in which Tabcorp employees can become a parent. The gambling entertainment company launched an Inclusion and Diversity strategy in 2020, a three-year road map that was developed with team members across the business. Tabcorp’s goal in this ambitious plan is to become the employer of choice for inclusion and diversity.

  • Paid secondary carer’s leave:6 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:18 weeks
  • Headquarters: Melbourne, VIC
  • Industry: Gambling Activities
  • Number of employees: 4729


12) Apple

Apple recognises there’s more than one way for dads to bring a new child into the family, so they support all kinds of new parents with paid leave and a gradual return-to-work program. Dads working for the global tech company also receive free guidance to help find childcare when they’re ready to return to work.

  • Paid secondary carer’s leave:6 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:16 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Computer and Computer Peripheral Wholesaling
  • Number of employees: 3942


13) Macquarie University

Macquarie University offers a range of generous provisions for parents and carers and encourages dads to access the leave available to them. The university’s policies are inclusive of LGBTIQ+ families, adoption, surrogacy and parents sharing caring responsibilities. Macquarie aims to continuously improve the support offered to dads by ensuring their policies are at the forefront of inclusive provisions and leave options for parents and carers.

  • Paid secondary carer’s leave:4 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:26 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: University and Other Higher Education
  • Number of employees: 5184


14) South32

To attract and retain the best people, South32 offers a workplace providing for equally fulfilling careers and personal lives. The Perth-based mining company has designed their parental leave policy to make it easier for parents to take time off and be with their families, particularly during the early years of a child’s life.

  • Paid secondary carer’s leave:4 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave: 26 weeks
  • Headquarters: Perth, WA
  • Industry: Metal Ore Mining
  • Number of employees: 4713


15) University of Technology, Sydney

University of Technology, Sydney provides dads on their staff with flexible working arrangements, along with two onsite childcare centres, to achieve a good work-life balance. Child-friendly facilities are available for dads, such as stroller entrances in buildings and ramps throughout the campus, parents’ rooms, and baby change facilities in selected male toilets. In addition, dads have access to funding for their research programs during parental leave.

  • Paid secondary carer’s leave:4 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:20 weeks
  • Headquarters: Canberra, ACT
  • Industry: University and Other Higher Education
  • Number of employees: 8668


16) Mirvac

Mirvac supports dads in finding the balance between work and non-work activities, including family and carer responsibilities. Mirvac allows dads to request various flexible working arrangements. Mirvac employees have 18 months to take their paid parental leave and there’s no requirement to take it in a single block of time. The property group also provides support for fathers transitioning back to work after the birth or adoption of a child.

  •  Paid secondary carer’s leave:4 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:20 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Building Construction
  • Number of employees: 1582


17) Australian Securities Exchange

The Australian Securities Exchange helps dads to overcome the challenges of early parenthood by empowering a co-parenting relationship for employees. The ASX provides a workplace culture where inclusivity and diversity are valued and dads feel comfortable taking parental leave. If dads and their families require extra support, an Employee Assistance Program is available with confidential access to 24/7 professional counselling.

  •  Paid secondary carer’s leave:4 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:16 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Custody, Trustee and Stock Exchange Services
  • Number of employees: 713


18) American Express Australia

The parental benefits at American Express begin on the first day of employment, with no minimum period for eligibility. Parental leave policies are open to all, no matter the gender of the parent or how the child becomes part of their family. The Amex Employee Networks provides tools and resources to working dads to help them be effective in their jobs, while balancing work and family life. American Express also offers flexible work arrangements and mental health services to dads and their families.

  • Paid secondary carer’s leave:4 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:20 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Custody, Trustee and Stock Exchange Services
  • Number of employees: 1479


19) Commonwealth Bank

Commonwealth Bank offers inclusive, gender-neutral support designed to help dads manage their caring and family responsibilities. The Australian bank also offers a financial return-to-work bonus to assist with ongoing caring expenses. Other benefits include help finding childcare centres and an online portal to help dads take care of their physical and mental health with resources for dealing with stress, parenting and much more.

  • Paid secondary carer’s leave:4 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:12 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Custody, Trustee and Stock Exchange Services
  • Number of employees: 32,845


20) SAP Australia

SAP Australia offers dads paid parental leave to care for a newborn or recently adopted child. Other benefits for new parents include help sourcing suitable childcare, flexible work arrangements, and counselling and advice for dads and their families to help deal with any personal or work-related problem.

  •  Paid secondary carer’s leave:4 weeks
  • Paid primary carer’s leave:17 weeks
  • Headquarters: Sydney, NSW
  • Industry: Computer and Computer Peripheral Wholesaling
  • Number of employees: 1413



How does your company stack up?

Companies considered for the top 20 list are limited to the largest 500 companies in Australia by revenue (according to IBISWorld). Annual research conducted by CoreData, in partnership with HBF, uses publicly available information on a company’s parental leave policies, including WGEA reports, enterprise bargaining agreements, media releases and website information. Data for this study was collected from 1 August 2020 to 31 September 2020. If you would like to know how your company could feature on this list next year, please contact us.


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