Flexibility available to men too in law firms workplace

Father’s Day, a timely reminder to law firms
workplace flexibility available to men too

Father’s Day this weekend (Sunday, 3 September) and the
New Zealand Law Society is reminding law firms that
workplace flexibility is also available to men.

Paid Parental Leave (PPL) is a government funded entitlement
paid to eligible mothers and other primary carers such as
adoptive parents, Home for Life Parents, whāngai,
grandparents with full-time care, and other permanent

The payments go towards loss of income when
taking parental leave to care for a new born baby or a child
under six years old.

A human rights and employment lawyer,
Kathryn Dalziel, says essentially if ‘Dad’ is the
primary care-giver, then he too is eligible for Paid
Parental Leave.

Ms Dalziel who is a member of the Law
Society’s Human Rights and Privacy Committee, says this is
perhaps a fact often overlooked by society because the
traditional ‘father’ is often perceived as the main
household breadwinner.

“I think it is wrong to assume
workplace flexibility is just for women. Considering the
rates of burnout in the legal profession which affects all
genders. The fact is many men want to spend time with their
families, and the new generation coming into the workforce
who are demanding work-life balance means workplace
flexibility is likely to become the norm in the future,”
she says.

Ms Dalziel says when it comes to unconscious
bias in the workplace, the focus and concern of it
(unconscious bias) occurring is mostly directed at female

“Yet all employers have to watch for
unconscious bias, and that includes towards men who may need
time with their children. In our business we have two women
law firm partners so we have to be careful too,” she

She says workplace flexibility is a relatively
‘new kid on the block’, but then the dynamic of the
modern family has changed which needs to be reflected by

“I think that women have been accommodating
this “career interruption” for longer than men so it may
take a while for men to look at this option.

“However in
time, it will become the norm for both men and women. I
think it will challenge some people just as gender fluidity,
and different forms of sexuality challenges people. That’
ok, Rome wasn’t built in a day,” she


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