Aussies create ‘parenting partner’

An Australian firm has created the position of ‘parenting partner’, understood to be a first, in a bid to bridge the gap between maternity leave and returning to work for lawyering mothers.

Australia’s Holding Redlich named new mother Andrea Tsalamandris as its first parenting partner. Her role is that of a liaison, to help other pregnant lawyers at the firm deal with both personal and professional issues.

Tsalamandris, a mother of three and partner in the personal injury practice, is also tasked with negotiating the establishment of a flexible part-time schedule for the expectant lawyers with their supervising partner.

It is understood the move was made at the 41-partner firm after it suffered a talent shortage when new mothers did not return to work after their maternity leave.

Tsalamandris was reported in Australian press as saying: “The idea is to have someone within the partnership to be a support and advocate for women as they are entering a fairly stressful and anxious time of their lives. One part of the scheme that is important is that there is a partner being an advocate. This is absolutely a way to retain talent.

“This shows the firm wants to promote women and that it accepts that women can have a family as well as be career women.”

The firm was recognised by the Australian federal government for the innovation.