Some of the key objectives in the University of Adelaide’s SAGE Athena Swan Bronze action plan are to:

  • improve access to parental leave;
  • make resources on achieving work-life balance readily available; and
  • create a family-friendly workplace.

Identifying parents and carers’ needs

The University developed a biannual survey for staff returning from parental leave. Using the data they collected from this survey, the University gained a deeper understanding of what their staff needed, and whether staff were aware of available support.

The feedback suggested that University could improve the way they present information and resources for staff who are planning to take, currently on or recently returned from parental leave.

In response to this feedback, the University comprehensively updated its Family-Friendly Employer website. The Family-Friendly Employer website now covers two main areas—‘Parents and work’ and ‘Carers and work’—to better reflect the different barriers to work-life balance that staff members face.

A one-stop resource for parents and managers

The ‘Parents and work’ website focuses on supporting parents, and parents-to-be, in managing work and childcare responsibilities. It brings together the many forms, resources and assistance for staff who are parents or are about to take on the responsibility of caring for a child. The new website outlines the parental leave options available, as well as information to help staff make plans for keeping in touch while on parental leave and for returning to work.

The website also provides guidance for managers on frequently asked questions like what entitlements exist, things to consider when a staff member applies for parental leave and how to support staff who care for a child. It will now be easier for the managers to familiarise themselves with the available resources as well as to support staff members through this process.

A young man helps his elderly grandmother use a blood pressure cuff.

An inclusive definition of care

Many University staff members care for someone other than a child/children. This might be partners, close relatives or dependants with disabilities, medical issues or frailty due to age. The ‘Carers and work’ website was developed to support these staff members, recognising that their needs are different from those of employees with childcare responsibilities.

On that page, staff can find information on flexible work arrangements, family-friendly leave, counselling support, research equity initiatives and more. Like its ‘Parents and work’ counterpart, the ‘Carers and work’ website also contains resources to help managers support their staff members.

What’s next?

Hopefully, the new Family-Friendly Employer website will make it much easier for staff to find the information and documents they need to balance their work and family life. The website will be continually updated to ensure that the information is current and easy to access.

Visit the University of Adelaide’s Family-Friendly Employer website