How Centor is taking working dads seriously

The insurance and risk management company has 48 employees and offices in London. It has been named a great place to work. But why? We spoke to one of its employees.

centor family-friendly


Ricky Downs, 44, heads up the Private Client Division at Centor Insurance & Risk Management, specialising in personal insurance solutions to high-net-worth individuals. A keen ultra-marathon runner, he got married in October 2018 and a year later, the couple welcomed their daughter Beulah.

How have you utilised the family-friendly policies at Centor?

Centor have always been a very family-friendly place and made me aware of my paternity leave rights as soon as I told them that my wife and I were expecting. Having this information early enabled us to plan how we wanted to utilise this time effectively, so that I could best support my wife.

In practice, this meant that I was able to accompany my wife to all of our hospital appointments, that I could work from home when required in the lead up to the birth, and also, and more importantly, I was able to split my paternity leave into two stages.

Taking one period when our daughter was born, and then a second period, later on when I could be of more use to my wife! It worked really well for us.

Did you find this an easy process?

I found the whole process extremely easy. I spoke to the HR Manager, and our Director of Operations, who both supported my suggestions for splitting my leave across several months and were very flexible in their approach to how to accommodate both my own and my family’s needs.

We formulated an effective plan to cover my workload during my absence which was very flexible. All the policies were easily accessible and clearly written, so I knew exactly what their stance was and because of that, they knew what my expectations were too.

What did it mean for your family?

For my wife and I, it meant that we could focus on the most important thing in our lives at that moment: our daughter. Knowing that my employer supported me, allowed me time to be with those that I love, without applying pressure to come back to work as soon as possible was invaluable.

Knowing that my workload was being taken care of, enabled me to not worry about what was going on at work or what I would be coming back too. The little touches, like flowers and gifts, also reinforced how they felt about this new chapter in my life. Knowing that my salary was unaffected by this choice also took away the worry for me to provide for my family.

Has it made you feel differently about what you would want out of an employer going forward?

Definitely! Having such a positive experience with an employer, at such an important time in our lives, when you’re unsure of what you will need and when, was invaluable. All employers should do this as minimum. I also felt that I was treated the same as my female counterparts, so I hope that all employers adopt a similar approach to their employees.

Let’s hope my experience was not the exception.

Read more:

John Lewis hosts panel on future of work parental support

How TechNET IT are prioritising family

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