Parity during parenthood: Comparing paid parental leave policies in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s universities
journal contributionposted on 2021-11-08, 01:27 authored by Tara McAllisterTara McAllister, Sereana NaepiSereana Naepi, Kelly Dombroski, Sian E. Halcrow, Christina J. Painting
Increasing employee access to paid parental leave (PPL) is an important step to achieving gender equity in higher education. Although Aotearoa/New Zealand has recently increased PPL to the 26 weeks recommended by the World Health Organisation, the level of payment is capped at below minimum wage. For parents working or seeking to work at universities in Aotearoa/New Zealand, information about the PPL policies of these workplaces is essential for informed decision-making. This article reviews the PPL policies of the eight universities in Aotearoa/New Zealand, analysing these in terms of structural work-life support and cultural work-life support. The authors contribute autobiographical reflections to supplement the policy analysis with examples of real-life effects of the policies that are reviewed. The article finishes with a set of recommendations that would enhance employee wellbeing at universities in Aotearoa/New Zealand, including expanding access to leave and removing both gendered language and requirements to repay leave.