We have offered Equal Parental Leave to our people since 2017. Here Becky and Kelly tell their story and the impact it has had on their lives since baby Ruby arrived.
Having a baby is a major upheaval for any parent and the time they get to spend with their new child is precious. This is why we offer Equal Parental Leave to both parents, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or how you became a parent.
The benefits of the policy were incredibly important to Becky and Kelly Rolfe following the birth of their baby Ruby. Due to complications they had to spend a week in hospital before being discharged. As Becky says, it really helped at that important time.
I remember thinking ‘Thank god she isn’t going back to work, I’m not ready to deal with a baby on my own!
“Knowing that Kelly didn’t have to go back to work the following week took away a lot of the stress. I would have felt so guilty and anxious knowing I was ‘wasting’ half her time-off as we were in hospital.
“Once we were home and Ruby was two weeks old, I remember thinking ‘Thank god she isn’t going back to work, I’m not ready to deal with a baby on my own!’. Having Kelly home made everything so much easier.”
And the benefits to the other parent are so important during this key family time, as Kelly explains.
“As the ‘other mother’ in a same sex relationship my biggest worry was being able to bond with our baby. Being able to spend the first six months with her has allowed me the time to really bond and for us to become a family together.
As the ‘other mother’ in a same sex relationship my biggest worry was being able to bond with our baby.
“I’ve seen the stresses and mental health issues that both parents can face when having to either go back to work or being left home alone, so I’m grateful we’ve been able to share all the responsibilities, firsts, and learnings together.
"I feel like our relationship is stronger for this time together bringing up our daughter.”
To make it work, parents need the right support as they navigate their change in life and how they want to work, which was a great help to Kelly.
“I did not face any issues from my colleagues, manager or senior manager for taking the time off. They have been supportive of my return to work part-time which has meant I can continue to spend quality time with my daughter as she navigates her first year.”
I believe my mental health would have suffered not having Kelly there.
With Becky also returning to work part-time, the family have been able to maintain the work/life balance they need. And Becky has also benefitted from an additional four hours leave for the first 12 weeks on returning to work to help make the necessary adjustments.
But, as Becky says, it’s the time they got to spend together as a family and the extra support it brings that really made the difference.
“I was constantly grateful that we got to spend so much time together as a family for that first six months, especially when speaking to other new mums whose partners had gone back to work. I believe my mental health would have suffered not having Kelly there.
“It meant I was never lonely, that I could take a break when I needed one and that I could spend time looking after myself as well as my new baby."
To find out more about our Equal Parental Leave, read our press release or watch our video below: