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Call to give dads paternity leave

Monday Jul 9 01:01 AEST

All dads should be paid two weeks paternity leave to improve wellbeing and work productivity, a leading group of policy researchers recommends.

The idea was announced in Sydney at a forum on work-family policy.

Eleven policy leading lights from across Australia made a range of suggestions including allowing workers to choose part-time over full-time work, more work-from-home options and restricting long or unsocial hours.

University of Sydney Work and Family Policy co-convener Dr Elizabeth Hill said
A growing body of international research shows that giving workers more say over their work-time arrangements improves the wellbeing of workers and their households. The evidence-based policy principles set out in our document are informed by the latest Australian and international research.

The document, entitled Benchmarks for Work and Family Policies in Election 2007, will be used to rate the major parties' work-family policies prior to the poll.

We recommend that parties with a strong commitment to improving the reconciliation of work and family in Australia adopt a charter for work and family based on principles outlined in our document.

Another contributor to the forum, Professor Barbara Pocock, said flexible work hours improved staff retention rates.

Professor Barbara Pocock said
Extending that right to all workers for recreation, learning, pre-retirement planning and non-family care responsibilities will ensure widespread community support for these rights and improve wellbeing all around.

Warick Marsh from the FatherHood Foundation and James Adams from Fathers4Equality contributed this idea to the Men and Fathers' Family Friendly Policy Forum which was held on 20th June 2007 at Parliament House, Canberra. This conference also laid the foundation stones for extending the idea of paternity leave into the IR legislation to allow Dads to attend to the issue of boys education and actively participate in week to week school events.

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