“In my family we didn’t have traditional provider and caregiver roles,” says David.

“Dad would always take me to school. Even if the sky was tearing itself apart with rain, I would go to school. That’s partially how I learned to be a responsible father.”  

David lives in Paraguay and is a proud dad to three-year-old Xiomara (pronounced see-oh-ma-ra). His daughter attends a local UNICEF-supported Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre which he takes her to every morning. 

“It’s so close to my job — just as close as you can get — which is a huge help,” he says.  

David is one of millions of parents around the world who face the daily challenge of balancing childcare and their careers.  

From our work in over 190 countries over 70 years, we know that quality connection time is essential for both a happy mum, dad or carer, as well as a happy bub or child.  

Never is this more critical than in the first years of a child’s life.  

“The first years of life are when a child’s brain is developing at an incredibly rapid rate with hundreds to thousands of connections developing in the brain every second. It’s an incredible opportunity,” says Alice Hall, UNICEF Australia’s resident childhood development expert.  
David goofs around with his daughter Xiomara. © UNICEF/UN0312253/Sokol

We know Australians are struggling to manage their work and family commitments.  

A recent survey conducted on behalf of Family Friendly Workplaces shows a startling 1 in 3 working Australians said they are considering their options, leaving their current job or quitting the workforce as a result.  ​
So what does a family friendly work place look like? 
  • The culture is one where working families and carers are supported to combine their work and family life commitments.  
  • The culture positively impacts the quality of work-life for every family and contributes to the wider health and wellbeing of our society and economy. 
  • It champions gender equality and makes it easy for men and women to lead productive personal and professional lives, particularly for women who carry the caring load.    
  • It supports and encourages both work and family commitments. 
Did you know workplaces that support parents increase productivity and output while reducing stress, absenteeism and gender inequality. Seems like a no brainer, right?   

Here in Australia, it’s incredible to see the steps many businesses have taken to invest in family friendly policies that support parents at every stage of their child’s life. This can be everything from later meeting start times to allow for school drop offs, to parental leave that prioritises shared roles.  

This past year, parenting has become even more demanding with the blurring of work and home boundaries, as well as home-schooling for many of Australia’s parents during COVID-19 lockdowns. 
Is your workplace family friendly? 
Find out now
Xiomara, 3, draws pictures with her father, David at a UNICEF-supported Early Childhood Development centre in Paraguay. © UNICEF/UN0312263/Sokol

In collaboration with our partner, Parents At Work, we are launching the National Work + Family Standards provide employers with a benchmark of best practice guidelines that support employees meet their work, family and wellbeing needs. The Family Friendly Workplaces recognition framework certifies employers as a Family Inclusive Workplace. 

Just like David, his wife Leticia and their daughter Xiomara, every family should have the opportunity to give their children the best start in life.  

Career plans, productivity and women’s empowerment don't need to be compromised for that to happen. 

David is passionate about balance and shared roles at home. He feels parents shouldn’t need to defer to traditional gender roles.  

“Leticia and I collaborate,” he says. “That’s why you live with someone — to have a partner. Sometimes I cook, which is the way it should be.” 
Find out more about Family Friendly Workplaces 
Learn more