Platform55 Talks Paternity Leave this IWD

25th February 2024

Posted In: IWD2024

Platform55, the HR platform that transforms how companies support modern families at work, is calling on more men to join International Women’s Day events in order to advocate for gender equality. Platform55 was founded in 2020 by Michelle O’Keeffe and Tracy Gunn. They met in 2019 through a mutual contact while working on a project commissioned by Michelle and delivered by Tracy. At the time, both were balancing senior leadership positions while raising a young family.

Having first-hand experience of the demands of balancing family life with their careers, they recognised a need to support parents in the workplace. With Platform55, they’re on a mission to make sure that individuals can have a fulfilling family life and career.

According to Platform55, there is still a societal stigma attached when it comes to men taking full parental leave entitlements.

Tracy Gunn, Co-Founder of Platform55 said: “Taking leave nearly always falls on one parent and it’s usually the mother.

There’s still a huge stigma attached to Dads taking paternity leave and we need to see more support from managers to ensure paternity leave is taken.

Men should feel able to avail of parental leave. While many fathers will take the statutory paternity leave, there’s still an unwritten rule about being seen to take too much. In the workplace, comments like ‘you’re not going to take it all are you?’ are not uncommon. We see an even lower uptake (by men) of entitlements like unpaid parental leave, even when their partner earns more money than them, and it would make financial sense for them to be the one to take it.

Those who take their leave entitlements are often judged and don’t get sufficient support. It is evident in our day-to-day work that some managers don’t understand the challenges parents face in balancing work with parenting.

No one should be judged for taking the time off to spend with their new family member and there should be no professional repercussions in doing so.

At Platform55, we equip managers with tools to create workplaces where everyone, regardless of their gender, has equal opportunity to progress in their career and care for their family. There’s still a lot of work to be done to change attitudes and behaviours around care-giving but the birth of a child is a special time and it’s only fair that fathers are supported in taking that time off.”

Platform55 is hosting a webinar on IWD, March 8th from 11 a.m. to 12 noon which will open the discussion around paternity leave while addressing the barriers that new fathers face. Panellists include Paul O’Brien of Plan International and Justin Sinnott of SOLAS. You can connect with Platform55 here>>

Pictured (l-r): Co-founders Michelle O’Keeffe and Tracy Gunn of Platform55.