Carer’s Leave

26 June 2024

The Champions of Change Architecture Group has conducted a series of in-depth interviews to better understand the diverse experiences of parents and carers, and the barriers they face. Carer’s Leave: Greater equity for all outlines the findings and offers detailed recommendations and topics for consideration.

Alex Small on the process of reviewing and expanding thinking and policies for carer’s leave.

Equity for all

Parenting is an ongoing commitment that does not stop six months after returning from parental leave. Similarly, caring for relatives can be a major, gradually increasing responsibility. A supportive work environment can help parents and carers to balance ongoing and changing caring responsibilities throughout their careers, which in turn helps them to succeed and contribute more effectively to the practice and industry.

This document identifies tangible, simple strategies illustrated through personal experience to assist women overcoming career stagnation post parenthood and men overcoming the stigma of taking on caring responsibilities, with the aim of achieving greater equity for all. It also begins to address the experiences of people caring for other relatives.

The discussion paper is based in findings from in-depth interviews with people across Australia who have taken parental leave. This found a broad range of policies and approaches across participating practices. Carers of ageing parents or relatives with disabilities are less represented within policies and their needs are less visible generally. Across all demographic groups the consistent finding was that individual needs and circumstances vary and policies and workplaces need to be flexible to support them.

What is in the discussion paper?

The Carer’s Leave discussion paper opens with a conversation between Alex Small and Zoë King. They discuss their experiences as parents, the roles of their partners in co-parenting and the importance of good policies. This sets the scene for the research and recommendations that follow.

The discussion paper encourages organisations to improve processes and frameworks and provides practical tips and options for individuals, noting that every practice and person is different. It documents the findings of interviews with 30 people, with five emerging discussion topics:

  • Stagnation and progression
  • Men’s experience
  • Practice culture, policy and behaviour
  • Communication
  • Carer’s experience

Each topic is explored in three phases – before becoming a parent, during parental leave, and after becoming a parent. Insights and recommendations are offered in relation to each phase, with topics enlivened through quotes from the interviews.


Download Carer’s Leave: Greater equity for all

Carer’s Leave: Greater equity for all was developed by the Champions of Change Architecture Group, led by Alex Small, Zoe King and Mel Eclarinel (Cox), Rebecca Buffington and Dylan Tirtabudi (BVN), Caroline Yuen (Peddle Thorp), Laura Ulph (Hayball), Laura Saunders and Gemma MacDonald (DKO) and Jet Geaghan (Woods Bagot).