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The Financial Services Compensation Scheme prides itself on its progressive family leave policies. We chatted to one of its workers to find out more.
Gilles Manem is a Lead Application Support Finance Specialist for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We sat down with him to talk about he worked with the company on his paternity leave when daughter Isabelle was born in August 2020.
My overall hope when I planned my paternity leave was to be able to take the full 20 weeks to stay with my daughter and my wife as much as I can and be able to take care of them. I could manage that with the help of my employer, FSCS, as they were very supportive.
The process was pretty easy for me. I talked to my manager early on about the pregnancy and asked him what I needed to do in order to be able to take the full paternity leave offered. He contacted our People Team Department with all my questions. Then when everything was signed, we took time to plan what would be my tasks to prepare the person taking care of my work during this period.
I took the full 20 weeks offered by FSCS, from August 2020 to January 2021. This was perfect – I saw my daughter growing up on a daily basis and helped my wife as much as I could to let her focus on resting and taking care of our daughter. It was a difficult time with the pandemic around and the restrictions. Staying mostly inside with a baby is not easy but we managed, we don’t regret anything.
My wife and I shared the tasks at home to be able to take care of Isabelle when the other had to do something. It was new and a bit scary with nobody around to help because of the pandemic as we are both foreigners and our families are abroad. But we managed. We planned activities and we carry on since I’m back to work, it gives us a balance.
The transitioning into work was easy as I came back during the pandemic so I had to go to the office once a week. Also, my work was handled with care during my leave so I could pick it up like I never left. With the pandemic ending and Isabelle of age to go to nursery, I moved to compressed hours. I work 10h/day, 4 days a week to have my Thursday free to take care of my daughter. It is challenging as my work is very demanding, but I always loved challenges, this is the way I work. My manager helped me to put this in place with some conditions of course to leave the possibility for my colleague to take holidays.
My wife went back to work at the end of summer 2021, she is also working 4 days a week to have Friday off. This is helping us with the balance between work and nursery. Going 40% of the week to the office, 50% for me to be honest, also makes it possible for my wife and I to alternate who brings Isabelle to nursery.
I would not change anything about my leave at all. Twenty weeks leave should be proposed to every father, at least for the first born. If we decide to have another child, I will definitively take the 20 weeks again if FSCS still offers them.