Experts and parents are calling on the Australian government to review its outdated paid parental leave schemes, as their inequitable and inflexible design deters fathers from using them.
Eligible parents can access 18 weeks of Paid Parental Leave at national minimum wage - or about $740 a week - but only 2 per cent of fathers do so as the payment goes to a child's primary carer.
Mothers can transfer all or part of their parental leave to their partner or child's father, but most do not. The World Health Organisation's guidelines recommend breastfeeding for 26 weeks as the "optimal way of feeding infants".
Fathers are then reliant on the Dad and Partner Pay scheme, which sees them get two weeks off at minimum wage. Many parents think it is not worthwhile, given the potential drop in income, the requirement to be on unpaid leave to receive it, and varying wait times for the payment to be delivered.
Employers can elect to 'top up' payments in the parental leave scheme to supplement the allowance.
"Two weeks [for men] isn't enough, especially if you're like myself and had a c-section," Jerrabomberra resident Jessica Skipper said.
"I needed that extra help. I was in hospital for a week and then I came home, and that would have been just one more week before he back to work.
"I still obviously couldn't walk properly, I was on [a lot of] pain relief ... four weeks is probably the minimum for what I think men should have."
About 80,000 fathers and partners had taken advantage of the Dad and Partner Pay scheme each year since 2015-16, a government spokeswoman said. A 2014 review found 50 per cent of eligible people who knew about the scheme used it, or a total 36 per cent of eligible people.
A report, to be released this month, found the Paid Parental Leave scheme was initially intended to be an "incremental step" towards supporting parents, or a "minimum model that was always going to be built upon".
Here we are, 10 years after the announcement, and we're still lagging behind other OECD countries when it comes to parental leave.Belinda Townsend
It was announced in 2009 and introduced in 2011, while dad and partner pay was introduced in 2013.
"Here we are, 10 years after the announcement, and we're still lagging behind other OECD countries when it comes to parental leave," lead author of the report Dr Belinda Townsend said.
"If you look at other countries in the OECD the paid parental leave that mothers can take on average is 53 weeks.
"If you look at the average for fathers or partners, it's a dedicated eight weeks leave, and ours is two."
The Productivity Commission recommended that the paid parental leave policy be reviewed a couple of years after it was introduced, and compulsory employer-funded superannuation added.
The income that was offered by both the parental and dad and partner schemes could also be increased, Dr Townsend said.
About 50 per cent of employers in Australia did not give parental leave top ups.
"A majority of the countries in the OECD offer 50 per cent or more of earnings, and you could go to somewhere like Norway and it's more than 80 per cent wage replacement," she said.
The government was looking to allow families to split their parental leave into blocks over two years.