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By Mike Atkinson

Only two per cent of father stay home to look after their first babies, a new survey has found.

Even fathers who earn less than mothers are unlikely to stop working after their newborn is born.

The study by the Australian and New Zealand School of Government shows that 23 per cent of mothers (212 out of 752) but just 2.3 per cent of fathers (19 out of 804) stay home with a new baby.

Father feeding baby in kitchen

Jeziel from Drive caught up with lead researcher of the study, Dr George Argyrous. When quizzed on whether workplaces should follow Sweden’s approach to paternity leave — where leave is split 50/50 between mother and father — Dr Argyrous said Aussie policy makers and work places shouldn’t rule out such an approach.

PODCAST: Dr George Argyrous on Drive with Jeziel

“We should look at policies that draw their attention towards the father, rather than just thinking of work life balance as solely a problem for women,” Dr Argyrous said.

“Unless we do something about male choices when the baby is born we needn’t also limit, so I think those kind of policies in Sweden that focus on fathers.

“For example, they have ‘use it or lose it’ leave — The father is entitled to some leave but if they don’t use it they can’t transfer it to the mother. Those policies have changed gender roles in those countries, so while it might seem extreme from an Australian perspective I don’t think we should rule it out.”


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